If the unimaginable happened, and you dropped dead tomorrow, how challenging would it be for your family or work associates to gain access into your virtual accounts over the Internet? Because so much of what we do in our personal and business life happens online, we spent an exorbitant amount of time protecting our Internet identity. We all usually have a long list of specific usernames and associated passwords for critical accounts including banking institutions, brokerages, lending institutions, credit cards, and others.
If you happened to be looking right instead of left when you stepped in front of a moving bus which person at your home or office would have the ability to produce your passwords? Would it be your trustee, your spouse, your business associate, the higher ups at the office, your lowly employees, or anyone in your life that could step in and gain instant access into your online accounts? Even though we do not like to think about death or being incapacitated, when it happens it can cause undue hassle and stress on those that remain behind, to deal with the untimely event of your demise or incapacity.
A Paper List
Maintaining a paper list is often not the most practical solution for individuals that have numerous accounts in their personal or business life. The last thing any individual needs to deal with in the event of your death is to realize they have no ability to gain access to your important business records, portfolios or other essential assets simply because they do not have any way of knowing your passwords. A paper list might help, although it would have to be stored in a very secure environment.
A Software Solution
Perhaps a better solution then offering no alternative method for gaining access to your accounts when you are no longer here is to use a strong password management system. Leaving behind one access password would allow your family or business associates access to all your other passwords. The password manager can work as a posthumous contingency plan to harbor and utilize your passwords. It has the potential to make your business associates, employees and family members’ lives much easier when you are gone.
A Testamentary Letter
Another alternative is to generate a testamentary letter, also sometimes referred to as the “letter of final instruction”. This piece of paper would include all of your specific usernames and associated passwords to every online account you have. It is not necessarily seen as a formal legal document, but it can assist business associates and family members that are eager to navigate through all of your online accounts. Filling out a testamentary letter and leaving it in a secured place such as a safety deposit box or in your attorney’s folder can be almost as invaluable as your last will and testament.
The challenge created by writing passwords down on a paper list, offering a software solution, or leaving behind a testamentary letter is that you most likely are changing your passwords every few months or so. To be effective at keeping your confidential information fully guarded against cyber-attackers and hackers interested in your data, it is critical to change your passwords on a routine basis. So leaving behind a detailed list of all of your passwords to your heirs or business associates might have little or no value when your final day arrives. Perhaps the better solution is to use a password management software plan that can handle your ever-changing passwords on every account you have.
Password management software, or a password wallet, is a way to collect of all of your active passwords in a single place. Usually, password management software is utilized by a large group of online users that work in a shared environment. Some software offers a quick way to reset passwords without the need to experience authentication lockout at times when you cannot remember what password you used last. Some password management software programs offer single sign-on features that will automatically populate both the user ID and password for an instant login.
Privilege Password Management Plan
You also could consider using an effective privilege password management plan that offers an elevated level of security when logging in IDs and passwords. Usually, this type of management plan requires the storage of passwords and only discloses them in a pre-determined appropriate, secured manner.
With the need to use a unique password for each individual online account you have, it is critical to make a plan for others, in the event you are not around tomorrow. Dealing with your demise might be challenging enough for your family and business associates when they realize they need to gain access into your online and off-line accounts.
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