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Pass On Your Password

Posted by attorney Joseph Masiuk


That’s what everyone tells us…and it’s a great idea, too.

In this age of identity theft, stolen credit card accounts, and such, we do well to safeguard any and all information, such as birth dates, social security numbers, bank account numbers and anything else which would tell the public anything about us.

I’ve been a big fan of using the revocable living trust as the keystone to a good estate plan, rather than the will. One of many reasons for my preference is that trusts aren’t subject to probate, a public record process, where some of those precious personal identifiers are sacrificed to the eyes of anyone who wants to know.

In our zeal to protect what is personal and private to us, however, we can go too far.

For those of you who keep all personal banking and investment activity on computer, might I make a teensy weensy suggestion?

Please don’t die with your computer password.

Pass it along.

On more than one occasion, we have met with a widow or widower who, in addition to being in grief over the loss of his or her partner, has been supremely frustrated because his or her deceased spouse did not leave the password to their personal computer behind, thus depriving his or her survivor of vital financial information with which to pay the bills, keep the house going and make timely financial decisions.

This problem can be easily prevented.

Please give some thought to writing your password on a slip of paper, putting the slip in an envelope, sealing the envelope, writing “PASSWORD" on the envelope and putting it with your will or trust or wherever you put important papers, such as in your safe deposit box, if you have one.

You will be saving those you leave behind from additional, untold, unnecessary aggravation.

And don’t worry about whatever else your survivors might find on your hard drive, because, when they access it, you will not be in a position to care.

After you’re no longer with us, will you really care if anyone knows that you spent all your idle hours surfing the ‘net to find that next greatest “Field and Stream" or “Guns and Ammo" website?

I didn’t think so.

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