Most people in our high tech society have online accounts such as ebay, Pay Pal, Facebook, Linked in, etc. not to mention their online banking accounts, brokerage accounts, and others with passwords. Some people have photographs and documents stored in their computer and have passwords to get into their computer. What happens when someone dies and no one knows the passwords?
If you bank online or you conduct business on line, your family or your executor or trustee may need to access those accounts to close them, transfer funds, or conduct business. You may also want them to respond to emails, retrieve photos, or post a final blog if you have one.
Accessing online accounts can be difficult. Google for example requires proof of death and will provide access only to an executor or trustee. Facebook won’t provide access at all. Banking institutions and investment companies all have their own rules and regulations for access.
An innovative service called Legacy Locker has a new service to manage your list of online accounts and passwords. Customers choose a beneficiary who is entrusted with the digital assets, whether they are photos, emails, cash in Pay Pal, etc. Legacy Locker allows a customer to choose who should be notified of their death. After receiving verification of a customer’s death, Legacy Locker releases the information.
Similar services are VitalLock.com and AssetLock.net which serve as an “electronic safety deposit box” where registered users can store private documents plus passwords, lock combinations, and other private information
These online services of course charge for their services. It is a good idea whether you pay for such a service or keep the information in your safety deposit box to have someone know the passwords and assets you may have in your computer. What’s not a good idea is to leave the information written down on a pad in your desk drawer or worse yet, in your computer.