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Online Account Pre-Planning

Social media websites, as well as financial ones require secure login and passwords. Some also require a second level of security, in the form of a security questions or a pin. These security measures are in place to help prevent hacking, but they also make it very difficult for a family member of someone who has recently passed away to access these accounts.

Unless passwords and user information has been left in a will or other secure place that someone knows about, family members may have a difficult time accessing these accounts. Requesting online account access is not always a simple process. Many websites require proof of death, proof of relation, and details within a will that name you as the executor. Even social media sites have strict requirements in order to delete an account of someone who has passed away.

Communicating your wishes regarding how you want these online accounts handled is essential to help your loved ones avoid the challenges of accessing these accounts. The information should be stored somewhere that can be accessed by family members, or a digital executor should be named in your will.

The digital executor would be granted explicit permission to control the accounts. Additionally, you should have a list of every online account you have with passwords and state your wishes for each. For example, you may wish that all the pictures be downloaded off of your social media sites and given to a specific relative, or you may want certain accounts completely shut down.

There are also companies that will store your passwords on a secure server. This “master” account is easy for you to login to and update accounts and passwords frequently. This is ideal if you have passwords you need to change often, as it could be costly to continuously make updates to your will. If you select an online service, be sure to assign a digital executor in your will providing the “master” account details, so that they may access all the accounts.

By taking these actions, you will save your family much time accessing, managing, and/or closing your online accounts. We hope you take these steps in helping make the process easier on your loved ones.

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