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Keeping track of passwords for estate planning purposes

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2017 | Firm News, Wills |

Most Ohio residents will be familiar with how frustrating it is to forget a user name or password. While being unable to log into an important website is usually a fairly straightforward problem to remedy, it can cause havoc for estate planning attorneys and heirs when the author of the password in question has passed away. Most online security experts recommend that individuals use several complex passwords including letter, number and symbols that are hard to remember but easy to forget, and websites that contain highly sensitive information sometimes require their users to regularly select a new password.

Some individuals choose to solve this problem by keeping their wills, passwords and other sensitive information safely secured in a bank safe deposit box, but this can sometimes be problematic after they die. Many banks will require an order from the probate court to allow a non-owner to have access to the contents.

A fireproof home safe is a sensible alternative to a deposit box, but individuals should still update their passwords on a regular basis to ensure that the information is actually of use to their heirs. Another option is to create a master password that grants access to all other passwords and then split it. Half of this master password can then be given to a trusted friend or family member and the other half to an attorney.

There are also a number of online companies that offer password storage services. Using one of these service providers could make it easier for individuals to keep track of and update their information, but some experts have voiced concerns about possible hacking attacks or security breaches. Experienced estate planning attorneys may help their clients to choose between such services by consulting with information technology experts to assess the strength of the encryption they use and the comprehensiveness of their security protocols.

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