Planning for your passwords and virtual assets
by William G. Lako Jr.
Business Columnist
September 14, 2012 12:11 AM | 1239 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
William G. Lako Jr.<br>Business Columnist
William G. Lako Jr.
Business Columnist
With so much of our lives conducted online, if one spouse were to die, it is essential a surviving spouse has access to all of a couple’s online logins and passwords. Brokerage or banking accounts may transfer to you as a listed beneficiary but, it is equally important for you to have access to the online records should you wish to cease automatic payments, close accounts or cancel subscriptions no longer needed.

We are continuously warned about not using the same password across multiple accounts. Remembering each login, website and password can be a monumental task even for one person, much less a family of four. Thus, you may consider using a password management program, such as 1Password or RoboForm, that records and tracks all websites and passwords.

These services are generally available for a reasonable price. A couple or family can use one master password to access the program, and then all website logins and their corresponding passwords are stored and encrypted within the program. Even though one spouse may handle all the financial transactions, should something happen, the other spouse will be able to access all online accounts.

Taking password management a step further, is an online safe-deposit box where you can store passwords to every website that requires a login, such as your email, social network sites, online photo storage, personal websites or blogs, and subscriptions you manage online. Additionally, you can assign a beneficiary to manage your social network accounts once you pass. also allows you to upload digital copies of important documents like your will, contracts or birth certificates.

When considering your virtual assets, such as your email, cloud storage or social media accounts, you may want to consider implementing a Virtual Asset Instruction Letter. A VAIL can outline who should settle your accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and the like.

While the executor of your estate is someone you trust, that person may not possess the knowledge or technical savvy to address closing your social media accounts. In this case, you may want to designate a younger family member to settle your Facebook account, as he may have more experience with social media. You may also wish to designate that the responsible person do something in particular with your account, such as post a prepared message upon your passing. You can also request that they delete the account immediately or wait a certain period of time, so that photos can be printed or saved and distributed to family members
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