Who Knows Your Passwords? 5 Useful Estate Planning Tips

On behalf of Louis Pacella, Attorney at Law posted in Power of attorney on Thursday, October 25, 2012

Last spring our readers in California learned about the potential need for a social media will. Now that many of us have Facebook pages and perhaps blogs or other online personas, we need to let our heirs and our executor how we would like to have our social media handled after our death.

However, the need goes beyond that. When many of us pay our bills electronically, receive important notices via email and manage our savings accounts electronically, our executor will need a host of passwords to prevent problems accessing our financial life as well as our online social life. Someone needs to have the password power of attorney.

The following five useful estate planning tips may help prevent headaches for your executor as he or she hunts for all of your assets, debts and online identities.

  1. Password storage: Keep all of your passwords in a safe place. There are online password storage programs that work, or you can write them all down on a notepad and keep it in your firebox or other safe place. Don’t forget the user name and password for your utility bills and financial accounts.
  2. Health care directive: Both your doctor and the individual holding your power of attorney should have access to this important document. There are online programs for the storage of this as well.
  3. Back-up files on the cloud: Apparently many people have a cloud account, and may not even know it. The files you should back up include everything from tax returns to the draft of your memoir. If you have a smart phone or Amazon account, you already may have access to the cloud.
  4. Social media will: As we have mentioned before, it is a good idea to include instructions for your Facebook page, blog or other social media identities.
  5. Family memories access: Are your photos and videos scattered about? Consider creating a central family photo and video depository so anyone can access your images or footage. There are free, or practically free, ways to do this such as Shutterfly or DropShot.

These estate planning tips are all ways to share your information. It may be equally important that your executor knows what information should not be shared with anyone. There are some things you may want to keep private forever.

Source: Forbes.com, “You Just Locked Out Your Executor And Made Your Estate Planning A Monumental Hassle,” Nancy Anderson, Oct. 18, 2012

Our Los Angeles law firm represents individuals with a full range of estate planning needs including powers of attorney, wills, trusts, gifts and long-term care issues.