Keep Me Logged In

While developing your estate plan, a best first step is to identify your online accounts. And that’s a perfect time to consider the security and storage of your passwords as well.

Most people don’t have hard copies of account statements anymore because they rely on email and online account access. When a fiduciary is managing an estate, accessing emails and online accounts can be near impossible without the right information. A fiduciary may not even know about some accounts, and funds in a secondary bank account, online trading account or insurance policy could be overlooked.

So, what’s to be done in this digital age? Keep good records, of course. And make sure the fiduciary named in your estate plan knows how to find the information needed to access your accounts. There are three options that can be considered for keeping passwords:

  1. Prepare a list of passwords and give it to the named fiduciary. The potential problems with this idea come if the fiduciary is replaced and left with a list of sensitive information or simply forgets about it when the time comes.
  2. Provided that they are securely stored, keep passwords with estate plan documents. However, both of these first two options mean updating the list as passwords change. And with some accounts requiring a new password as often as every 30 days, updating these lists can prove to be cumbersome.
  3. Use a "password manager." Probably the most effective solution, this can be a phone app or cloud-based service. There are several helpful password manager options available, which can offer peace of mind for storing passwords, and making them available when needed.

To get started on your estate plan and discuss your accounts, contact our office at (248) 477-6300 or info@wrightbeamer.com.