Don’t Leave Headaches For Your Heirs
We’ve been told over and over again not to let others know our passwords. This is certainly valuable advice, but what if you died and no one knew your passwords? How would your relatives access any important financial records kept in your personal computer?
If your relatives have to hire experts to break into your password-protected files, it can cost a lot (the current rate is $150 to $300 per hour). And having to hire someone can only add to the grief and stress your loved ones will already be going through.
The answer is to keep your passwords secure while you’re alive yet available when you’re not.
Here are some ideas on how to do this:
Put a list of passwords in your safe deposit box.
If you don’t have a safe deposit box, leave the list with the lawyer who drafted your will.
Tell your executor and/or spouse the passwords.
Write the list on a sheet of paper and place it in folder with your will and power of attorney.
Do not include the passwords in the actual text of the will because when the will becomes a public document, your passwords will become public, too.
Don’t try to get around the problem by using obvious passwords, like your birth date, your child’s birth date, etc. They’re too easy for others to guess and steal. And don’t use the word “password.” Think of something random.
Do not keep your password list in the computer. How will someone access that list without your computer password?
Source: The Star-Ledger, 8/18/03