Thursday, November 12, 2009

Usernames + Passwords + Estate Planning?

With the constant fear of online identity theft, we create strong and varied passwords for all of our accounts. In fact, we even change these passwords often and never write them down or share them with anyone.That's all well and good while we are alive, but this safe protective measure taken while living can wreak havoc for our heirs after we die. With an increasing portion of our personal lives stored online in password-restricted accounts -- including bank accounts, automatic bill-pay arrangements, personal messages and even items with small monetary but major sentimental value, such as photos -- piecing together an estate after a death can cause major headaches. Let’s use banking as an example: If you have an online savings account separate from your regular bank account and the statement notifications are only emailed, not mailed, that account may get overlooked when your finances are disbursed to beneficiaries. Attorneys today are faced with days of searching for some accounts and other personal online site access - a costly task that can be avoided.