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Account for passwords in an estate plan

It is generally more convenient for California residents to receive bank statements and other documents electronically. Unfortunately, electronic records could also make estate planning more complex for both the plan creator and estate executor. This is because most bank and other accounts require a password to access them. Passwords may also be needed to get into the smartphone or computer that information is stored on.

For some, simply listing the passwords and giving them to a trusted friend will be sufficient. However, it is also possible to put passwords in a safe deposit box that a trusted individual will be given access to. Password manager tools can help an estate owner organize all the words and phrases that they use to access various online accounts. Of course, it will be necessary to provide someone with the word or number combination needed to get into the master account.

Other options include allowing web browsers to save passwords that a person frequently uses. This would mean that an executor or other authorized party would only need to know how to log into the computer the password was saved on. A final option could be to create a password that is easy to remember without having to write it down.

Ensuring that an executor has access to financial and other accounts may be something worth considering while creating an estate plan with a lawyer. If executors don't have access to financial records or other information, it might not be possible to settle an estate in a timely manner. This could result in beneficiaries not receiving assets that they were supposed to inherit from a loved one.

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