Preparing a current a complete and updated list of all of your user-names, passwords, and online accounts is an important component of planning for your incapacity and/or death.
Preparing this list is even more important and timely given the recent passage of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (Act). The Act recognizes that we live in a largely digital world and that documents are increasingly stored electronically rather than in file cabinets. Accordingly, it affords fiduciaries the right to access digital assets just as they could access tangible assets. The Act also defers to an individual’s privacy choices as expressed in a will or trust), if they desire to keep certain assets private.
A secure list of passwords will help your trustee, executor, and/or other family members find your important online accounts, locate other digitally-stored property, provide for a smooth administration by keeping costs down, and ensure no property is overlooked.
There are two important steps: (1) compiling a written list, and (2) securing the list.
A list is simple to create. Just be sure to include all the important items. The following is a non-exclusive list of items to consider: home and office computer passwords, bank accounts, social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), web-based email accounts (Gmail, Hotmail, etc.), cloud-based storage (e.g., if you have a Dropbox account), investment accounts, life insurance and retirement plan accounts, credit cards, and digital music storage. Also, make sure you periodically re-visit the list to keep it updated.
Since it is not very secure to keep this list on you at all times, it is important to keep it in a secure location, such as a safe deposit box, a home safe, or if more convenient given the need for frequent updates, electronically. If your list is maintained electronically, then it is wise to have some form of written instructions that will give your executor, trustee, family members a way to easily find and access the secure list.
For assistance with preparing a secure password list, or for any other of your estate planning needs, please contact Fournier Legal Services at email@example.com or 860.670.3535 now for a free consultation and planning session.