What's the best way to leave passwords or user names should you pass away? 17 Answers as of September 23, 2013

In your opinion, what is the best way to have passwords/usernames available should you pass away? I want them to be able to be accessed if I die, but not available to anyone right now. Any advice?

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James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
Have a trusted friend or professional hold them.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 9/23/2013
Law Office of William Stoddard | William Stoddard
Find a place you feel is secure and put them on a card. Then in your will you can name the location so that it is known by your Personal Representative when your will is read. Please understand your will should also be a secure place, but not so hidden your personal representative cannot find it. DO NOT put it in a safety deposit box unless your personal representative is given a key before you die so he/she can go to the bank and withdraw the things there before the bank knows your dead. Otherwise they seal the box and it? takes a court order to unseal it - an expensive process that is unnecessary. You could also just tell your personal representative where the card is without naming it in the will. If you trust the personal representative to do your wishes when you are gone, why not give him the key before you are gone. You might leave a sealed envelope inside your will telling him where the card is too. Most people keep their wills in a paper storage place like a file cabinet, drawer or the like. Unless you have very nosy family, how do you deal with that now?
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/20/2013
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
I would keep a list with the rest of your estate planning paperwork. The person who you want to be in charge of handling your estate would presumably be the person you would want to have the passwords, as well.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/20/2013
Law Offices of Richard B. Rudolph | Richard Rudolph
Perhaps if the owner of the username and passwords has a Living Trust, which are usually contained in a notebook of some sort, they may be left in that notebook along with the Living Trust. That way, they will be accessible when the time comes. Disclaimer: This response does not constitute legal advice. It is merely an opinion, and not intended to create, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is impossible to provide a legal opinion in response to your question without a comprehensive analysis of all facts and circumstances relating to the legal issues.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/19/2013
Massie Law, PLLC | Sammi Massie
There are a couple of ways. One is the good old fashioned way of writing them down and keeping the list near your will but not as part of your will. Or there are several online options that your estate planning attorney can help you choose one.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 9/19/2013
    Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
    Just as you would safeguard your will and trust documents, deeds, etc., you would do the same for passwords. Passwords are essential to have accessible to family members/executors these days since we transact so much on line. I would print them off and keep it in a safe place like you would a will or other very important, private documents such as a safe or safe deposit box.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Put them in a will in a safe deposit box. The will should say that your personal representative has the right to access all digital and online assets using the usernames and passwords
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    The easiest way would be to have your lawyer keep the sealed envelope for delivery to your personal representative at the time of your death. You could also discuss with your bank about putting them in a safety deposit box with access to the key restricted during your life.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    You can leave it with your will.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Put them with your Will in a sealed envelope. Have your attorney retain or in your safe deposit box.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    Estrada Law P.C. | Michele Ungvarsky
    Yes have them in a document attached to a will.
    Answer Applies to: New Mexico
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    Brian M. Mekdsy Legal Services
    Brian M. Mekdsy Legal Services | Brian M. Mekdsy
    You can set up a document that contains all of your user names and passwords for your online accounts and store it with your other important documents. Make sure you keep it up to date when you change passwords or delete an account. You can easily refer to that document in your estate plan and you should make sure that your estate planning documents give your personal representative (and other fiduciaries) the power to access and deal with your digital assets. You could also keep that information in a protected file on your computer or backup drive, but make sure that someone you trust knows where it is and how to access it. There really is no right way to do this. Just use your best judgement about how to store this information and who should be able to access it when you pass away or become incapacitated. I commend you for thinking about this issue. It is something that is going to come up more and more in our increasingly digital world.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Keep an updated list with your other important papers in a secure, protected location both on-site. Keep a second copy at another location, if case there is a fire or natural disaster at the first site.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    The person that you have spoken to on your where your important papers are, i.e., will, power of attorney, living will, etc. would probably be the best person to let know where you keep your passwords. Personally, I have to write my passwords down now and keep them in a certain place that I know I will be able to find in case my memory slips on a particular password.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Make a list of them and put them with your estate planning documents (will, trust, etc.)
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Consult with a computer tech you trust for advice; also leave a list with someone you trust of the computer access words.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2013
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    This has become a hot legal issue over the last few years, and there is no clear answer. Passwords/usernames change, for security reasons. Many people no longer maintain paper records. Everything is online, password protected. What I advise my clients to do is prepare a list of passwords/usernames and keep it updated. Store them as an encrypted document, and provide the encryption key to the person named as Executor of your estate, or someone else you trust.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/19/2013
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