How to handle passwords for digital accounts in an estate plan

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2019 | Estate Administration & Probate |

When a Georgia resident creates an estate plan, they might overlook the need to ensure access to online accounts. Complicating this is the fact that writing down passwords is not secure. This may have larger implications if the estate owner runs a business. In December, the sudden death of a cryptocurrency exchange owner meant that clients lost access to $190 million in investments when his password could not be located. It’s unclear whether they will ever be able to access it.

Writing down passwords is one solution, but it’s not the best for security reasons. Placing a list of these passwords in a safety deposit box can enhance security, but passwords become outdated regularly. The tedious process of having to return to the safety deposit box and update the list every time a password is changed could result in the list falling out of date.

LastPass and other companies offer an alternative called a digital wallet that may be the best choice for some estate owners. A digital wallet stores all of a person’s passwords, so it’s only necessary to remember one to access the wallet itself. If the password is easy to remember, it can be shared with an executor or another relevant person without having to write it down.

Many people hesitate to embark on the estate planning process. Unfortunately, failing to do so can create a burden for surviving family members and beneficiaries. Along with struggling to locate and access digital assets, loved ones may have trouble finding other assets as well. However, an attorney could help a client consider all the necessary details during the estate planning process.

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