Today’s senior represents a changing demographic. Unlike a couple of decades ago, technology has now been around long enough that most senior citizens have experience with it. Grandma is on social media, Grandpa banks online, and they all share online photos with their family up north. These online platforms are fantastic for convenience and staying in touch, but few people think about the unparalleled access to the personal information they represent. When you are drafting a last will and testament, it is imperative to remember to list your passwords and access information for your executor.
Whether you intend to close the accounts or pass them along to one of your family members, having documented access will help your loved ones immensely in settling your affairs.
Why are Passwords so Important?
Although you might not realize it until you start counting them up, most people average approximately 25 passwords for various types of accounts and websites. You have passwords for streaming services, bank accounts, credit card payment portals, mortgage companies, and social media accounts – to name a few. Many people store these passwords on their phones (there’s another password!), while many people prefer writing them down in a journal or notebook. More tech-savvy users may use a password manager on their laptop or tablet – which is likely also password protected.
For each of the accounts that require a password, you will want to leave the current password, answers to any security questions, and details as to how you would like the account to be dealt with. It may look like this:
Instructions: Post announcement for friends, answer responses, then delete account after 30 days
User Name JoeSmith45
Instructions: Transfer money to my son’s joint bank account / Account # 123321123
In the case of streaming services and subscriptions, money will keep getting pulled out of your accounts if they are not closed by someone you trust. It can be challenging to close accounts if you are not the account holder, so all documentation helps.
In a society where everything is stored on phones, tablets, and computers, it is a smart strategy to keep important documents in paper format. File these papers with your beneficiary or beneficiaries, your executor, or your lawyer / financial advisor. Whoever you share the documents with, be sure you can trust them implicitly, as they will have a unique window into your life.
Financial Accounts and Contact Names
Financial accounts (stock accounts, retirement accounts, IRAs) and insurance policies are vital to safeguard with passwords. Still, you should add an additional detail when documenting these accounts – contact names, emails, and phone numbers of your agent(s). Also include the name of your attorneys and tax accountants.
Most of this information can be shared with your loved ones while you are still alive, and many people choose to offer joint access to all joint accounts at this time as well. Still, a password and contact list are important to keep with your papers anyway, just in case.
In recent years, preparing a comprehensive will has gotten more complex due to the digital aspects of our world. Be sure to take the time, and use careful thought and planning to execute a will that best represents your wishes.
A Place to Feel Safe at Home
Planning for your later years often includes an assisted living community. At A Banyan Residence, we are committed to helping our residents to live a full and productive life. Call today for a private tour of our Venice facilities.