Password management and estate planning

| Jan 17, 2021 | blog

Recent news reports may remind Pennsylvania residents about the importance of password management. In estate planning, someone may choose to designate power of attorney duties to a trusted person. Taking steps to ensure the individual has access to critical passwords might make the job less challenging.

Access to passwords helps with taking financial steps

If someone prefers another person to handle his/her finances, the established agent might need to access various accounts quickly and legally. Logging into credit card accounts could reveal how high the balances are while also allowing the agent to set up payments. Access to online banking could reveal how much money is available to pay bills. Reviews of various cash accounts may prompt the agent to move assets into better investment vehicles.

Such things could occur with few delays when the attorney-in-fact has all the passwords required to do things online. Handling business over the phone may prove cumbersome and cause delays.

Be mindful that the power of attorney abilities cease when the principal passes away. So, the executor of the estate might need the passwords. If he/she is a different person than the agent-in-fact, the testator may need to take steps to provide the person with all the passwords.

Recording passwords in the estate planning process

Perhaps the first step may involve taking an inventory of all the accounts and devices that require passwords. Besides online accounts such as social media profiles, banking sites and brokerage accounts, the executor may need passwords to smartphones, computers and tablets.

An estate planning attorney may suggest an appropriate place for the passwords. They could go in the file with the will and remain locked away in a law firm’s safe or safety deposit box.

Password management may be a necessary aspect of estate planning. An agent or an executor might need those passwords for official duties.