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Estate Planning for Usernames and Passwords

By Pantea I. Fozouni

May 13, 2020

Estate Planning for Usernames and Passwords

Doesn’t it blow your mind, just how many usernames and passwords we have for everything? Things on our computers, on our phones, all over the place, for a lot of us, for our homes even.

There are 2 things we need to think about...

There’s two things that we kind of need to think about. One, we want to make sure that the passwords and the securities we have are secure enough, especially in this day and age with so much cyber crime out there. But two, and a little bit more importantly, Estate Planning for usernames and passwords. We want to make sure that all of that information is captured somewhere and that the people who need them are going to have access to it if heaven forbid, something happens to you.

So with that, there’s a couple of things that I like to think of and advise people on to make sure they have in place. One, don’t use sticky notes and put your passwords all along your computer. I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of that myself sometimes, but obviously that’s not going to be secure.

Use a professional service to store passwords

Really, there are lots of really great websites that you can use to make sure that all of your passwords are logged in so that you don’t have to remember. And that’s especially important since so many websites, we have to change our passwords every 30 days, 60 days, 120 days and so on.

But two, they also make sure it’s an easy way to have everything located in the same place. That’s my number one tip. Definitely go ahead and use a great website, such as LastPass to keep control and to keep track of all of your usernames and your passwords.

What happens if you pass away?

But two, the reason why I’m talking to you about this as an estate planning lawyer, is that if something happens to you, your spouse, your partner, potentially your parents or your child, is going to need to have access to those passwords and to those accounts, to be able to handle any of the affairs that they need to do for you. Whether you’re incapacitated in the hospital, or if heaven forbid you’ve passed away. With that, it’s really important that people actually know what your password is and what your information is.

So I highly recommend, you can go very old school with this, get a sheet of paper out, along with a pen and go through and jot down what all of your accounts are. What all of that username is and make sure to include that with your estate planning, if you’ve done it already.

Or if you haven’t, if you have a, let’s say fireproof safe, that’s a great place to keep that information because obviously we don’t want it just sitting around on the coffee table. But we want to make sure it’s someplace that if someone needs it, they can easily find it.

It's not just passwords...

There’s also one other thing. Not only is it important to have the usernames and the passwords, but while you’re doing this, it’s also important to think about what the assets are that you have as well, keeping track of all of those bank accounts that you have, retirement accounts, different life insurance policies. I know it’s really easy to have some information spread out all over the place and in emails and you think, okay, one day I’ll get around to that. Unfortunately, one day might not come. And if that happens for you, then it’s going to be your loved ones who are going to be scrambling to find something and figure something out.

I don’t know if you’ve heard this number before, but there’s over $58 billion in our state, as well as federal departments of unclaimed property. And assets ended up in there because there was an asset or two that people owned, maybe a small bank account or a life insurance policy or a retirement account that beneficiary couldn’t be found for. And so that information, those assets ended up going to the state. It’s your assets, it’s your stuff. We want to make sure that goes to your loved ones, where it needs to go.

So my recommendations...

2 things to do for Estate Planning for usernames and passwords: Documenting, cataloging all of your important assets that you have so we can make sure that none of that ends up in the department of unclaimed property.

My name is Pantea Fozouni with Palm Desert Law Group, and I would be more than happy to walk you through the process, answer all of your questions, and make sure that we come up with a plan that’s going to work for you and your family when you need it. Regardless of where you are in your life, who you are, what’s going on, it’s my job to know the right questions to ask and I’m here and I’m ready to help you whenever you’re ready.

This article is a service of Pantea I. Fozouni, Family Business Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. Go online today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.

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