Should estate planning include your online account passwords?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2021 | Estate Planning |

You have all of your passwords memorized. It seems easy to you. Each one is a variation on a common theme. 

But what if you pass away? Would your family be able to access all of your online accounts? Something that seems so simple to you can be a huge roadblock for them, and it can cause a lot of problems for your estate, your executor and your heirs.

Digital accounts are a relatively new concern in estate planning

This is really a new problem, in that the internet has only really been a major force in most people’s lives since the late 1990s. As a result, no standardized system has been created in the last two decades for keeping track of online accounts and passwords. More and more of people’s lives are moving online, but most estate plans have a surprisingly inadequate plan to address that fact.

In some cases, this isn’t a huge issue. For instance, your heirs may wish they could shut down your social media sites, but it’s not the end of the world if they can’t. For things like Netflix and other account-based services, the accounts only apply to you, so you’re not supposed to just leave your login information to your family — plus, these will get shut down automatically when you stop paying. 

There are other issues, though, with things such as bank accounts, investment accounts and more complex types of investing, like cryptocurrency. Additionally, even things like Netflix — and more expensive services — may be set up to pay, creating debt for your estate or pulling money out of it. Giving your heirs a way to close these down or access them can tying up loose ends and resolving your financial affairs much easier.

Creating a complete estate plan

It’s important to think about everything when doing your estate planning so that you can create a complete plan that addresses your heirs’ needs. An experienced attorney can often provide guidance that will help you fill in gaps in your estate plan and overcome any problems you may have.