Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
Serving the legal needs of corporations, individuals and
families of Suffolk County since 1972

Accounting for passwords in an estate plan

New York residents often use passwords to secure devices or limit access to bank or other accounts. When a person passes away, it is important that an executor or other authorized agent knows these passwords or where to find them. There are many different strategies that an estate owner can use to keep the necessary information organized and easy to find after passing.

For instance, an individual may want to store passwords on an app or software program. The information is stored in the cloud, which means that it could be accessed from any device with an internet connection. That can come in handy if an individual forgets to write down the password to a personal computer or smartphone. Of course, it will be necessary to let someone know the password to that account. Another strategy is to write passwords down and put the list in a secure spot such as a safety deposit box.

It's not uncommon for people to create multiple passwords using a base word or phrase. If a family member or friend knows that base word or phrase, they could potentially predict a given password without the need to actually see it. This process might be ideal for those who don't feel comfortable using a digital app or leaving a list of passwords for another person to find.

Regardless of how much time or effort is put into an estate plan, there may be last-minute changes that are required. For instance, it may be necessary to change the password to a computer or change a beneficiary designation after the original beneficiary dies. Ideally, an estate plan will account for as many scenarios as possible. An attorney could help a client create a thorough plan.

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