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Should my loved ones know my passwords in case I die?

Like most people, you may have heard the joke about erasing one’s online search history if one were to die. However, the information stored in your computer and cellphone is no laughing matter if you have important financial data that could potentially affect your loved ones’ inheritance if they cannot access it. You and other Florida residents may be interested in learning about how to manage your passwords for the purposes of estate planning.

FindLaw cautions that your heirs might not be able to carry out your final wishes if they are unable to access your online accounts. For example, your children may be restricted from accessing funds meant to cover your funeral expenses, as well as money in a savings account that you wish to have divided equally among them, if they do not have passwords and other account information. You may take note of the following steps to simplify the probate process when it comes to your online accounts:

  • Make a list of each online service you manage, as well as the login and password information.
  • Tell at least one loved one where you keep the information, or give it to a trusted family member.
  • Instead of storing your password information in a safe-deposit box, which might not permit access until after probate, store it in a home safe.
  • Use a password-storing device, but understand that this option is not necessarily foolproof.

As you may imagine, sharing information about your online accounts and passwords can be a sensitive matter requiring trust and tact. As such, the information here is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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