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What to do about passwords in an estate plan

Many people in Illinois have a number of online accounts with different passwords. During the estate planning process, it's important to make sure those accounts can be accessible to others. Keeping online accounts secure is important, and security experts advise not writing down passwords. However, there needs to be some kind of strategy in place that allows an executor or another designated person to access these accounts.

Writing down those passwords is a possibility, but this is not always very secure. A compromise might be to write them down but place the list in a safety deposit box. The problem is that people may change passwords fairly regularly, and returning an updated list to a safety deposit box every time this happens could be cumbersome. This solution might only work for an estate owner who is willing to make those updates.

The best solution for a lot of people might be to use a digital wallet. LastPass is one example of this type of service. While it also involves sharing a password with someone, it does not require writing the password down. LastPass stores all the passwords, so a person only needs one memorable password. With this, an executor or another individual can get to the estate owner's other accounts as needed.

People should be aware that the terms of service for some websites do not allow users to share passwords with others in order to access those accounts. Therefore, learning a website's rules should be another step in estate planning. An estate owner may want to talk to an attorney about the best way to ensure that the estate administrator has a list of all assets, both digital and non-digital, and where to find them. An attorney could also assist an executor with these and other issues regarding estate administration and probate.

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Schlueter Ecklund & Davitt
4023 Charles Street
Rockford, IL 61108

Toll Free: 800-207-5133
Phone: 815-516-8264
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