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I was reading the MacBook access thread and thought that there is a good lesson to be learned from it. I did not want to muddle up that thread where the OP is looking for specific help. Basically someone died without leaving a password and the persons computer can‘t be accessed.

In the modern day this is something to prep for. My questions and what I would like feedback on is

1. How many people here prep for when they pass away and their loved ones need access to accounts?
2. What passwords and accounts are important for loved ones to have if you do pass?
3. How do you safely preserve account information for others that does not compromise your privacy?

1 and 3. For me I do have a system in place. My wife and I have a specific touchpad that we share. The Wi-Fi is turned off and is never turned on. We both have the password to access the touchpad. In that touchpad we have a document that we update whenever we open a new account that would be important should one of us pass. Basically anytime we open something that the other person will need access to we add the account and passwords to the document. If we change the password it is easy to change in the document.

I keep a slip of paper in my safe with the login information. No other information. Not what the information is too. My son knows the slip of paper is there and what it is for so that if something happens to me and my wife at the same time he can figure things out.


My concern is what if something happens to that touchpad.
 

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Bug-In Prepper
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My wife's been dragging me, kicking and screaming, through our estate planning. We have wills in a fancy binder now, and all that. Kudos to her for being the responsible one.

The most painful part, for me, was providing the password for my password vault. All of my passwords go into my vault (which is just an encrypted file on my laptop and an app) and the vault password gives access to all of its contents. I take my information security pretty seriously, and giving someone else that password felt like cutting my own wrists.

I wrote the password and brief instructions for using the vault app on a notecard and taped it to the inside back cover of our will. That satisfied my wife.

I tell myself that an adversary would have to get their hands on our will, find the notecard, and then come acquire physical access to my laptop to make use of it. That's not as high a barrier as I would like, but it's something.
 

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Lux in Tenebris
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8,253 Posts
We use an excel spreadsheet on my linux box, encrypted drive, password protected doc, print it out and stashed in safe w manual overide option...

and the data on machine gets sent off to a secure online back up site....

a balance between security and accessibility...
 

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Crazy Cat Lady
Plan to Alamo at home.
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19,162 Posts
My husband died and I was not on his bank accounts. I had to hire a (legal aid) attorney to get "my" money. It took nearly a year. Good thing I had friends (wink).

So I did this:
Put my aunt on checking and savings account.
Redid my will, leaving everything to my aunt. If she is not around the house will be sold and proceeds go to charity.
I have a google account with passwords saved. So I gave her the Google account password which gives her my email, credit cards, and the board here (I would want her to notify you if something happened).
My phone does not have a password, or the tablet, so that's not an issue.

Oh, almost forgot. You can skip the long version here and go to TLDR section.
My husband had been a DNR. He filled out forms for that which I put in the hospital bag. I found him dead, called 911. They tried to revive him for half an hour before I admitted he was not coming back. But they did not want to stop. They wanted the DNR which I could not find. I managed to convince them his doctor had a copy (he did) and they finally let him go.

I am also a DNR and my parents have said they will "do everything" for me regardless of my wishes. So I made my aunt my healthcare power of attorney. I also did a DNR which I learned is best posted on the fridge.

TLDR: make sure you have paperwork on your medical wishes (code/no code) and ideally a medical power of attorney if you have conflict between family members. I was so sick of all the drama with settling my husband's estate I signed a Power of Attorney for her to manage my affairs if I can't. I trust her implicitly you want to be really careful with those things. And that came in handy for her on several occasions as she settled various parts of his estate. For instance, she was able to use it get the life insurance company to pay off the house, and deal with the mortgage company.

Something that may also come up write out your wishes for what you want as you age and need help at home. A paid caregiver costs about $25 an hour with a 4-5 hour minimum. Think about that. Look into options NOW before you have the stroke. Adult Foster Homes are a good option for many, if is a regular home with 4-5 people living in it, all of whom need help. A caregiver is always on site. My parents have told me they want this should the need arise. Write out "It is OK to put me in a nursing home" or whatever and give copies to all family members. I am on a caregiver group and you would be very saddened to see how many family members, adult children were made to "promise you'll never put me in a home" and are trying to do it on their own, and it is too much work for one person, but there are no finances for help. They feel is is going against their wishes if they even consider it even though it is the only option.

I was able to care for my husband when he should have been in a facility but it wasn't safe. Anyway something else to consider.
 

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The Black Death
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As for passwords, I let everyone know what my login credentials were to my system. Nothing is encrypted. I showed my mom how to use my password Manager, Last Pass. There is nothing on any device that I own to cause concern and I don't care who accesses any of the info.

My mom is on my accounts at the bank, and my brother is on her accounts. Nobody has much, nothing to fear.
 
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I was reading the MacBook access thread and thought that there is a good lesson to be learned from it. I did not want to muddle up that thread where the OP is looking for specific help. Basically someone died without leaving a password and the persons computer can‘t be accessed.

In the modern day this is something to prep for. My questions and what I would like feedback on is

1. How many people here prep for when they pass away and their loved ones need access to accounts?
2. What passwords and accounts are important for loved ones to have if you do pass?
3. How do you safely preserve account information for others that does not compromise your privacy?

1 and 3. For me I do have a system in place. My wife and I have a specific touchpad that we share. The Wi-Fi is turned off and is never turned on. We both have the password to access the touchpad. In that touchpad we have a document that we update whenever we open a new account that would be important should one of us pass. Basically anytime we open something that the other person will need access to we add the account and passwords to the document. If we change the password it is easy to change in the document.

I keep a slip of paper in my safe with the login information. No other information. Not what the information is too. My son knows the slip of paper is there and what it is for so that if something happens to me and my wife at the same time he can figure things out.


My concern is what if something happens to that touchpad.
I either have my wife was as account holder( mutual fund), joint tenent with rights of survivorship ( house, stock), successor (kids 529), POD (bonds), beneficiary ( 401(k), my IRA), etc. No passwords,,and no setting my wife up as a criminal by logging on as me, after I am dead.

She has her own Roth IRA, from which she can withdraw the contributions I’ve made tax free- so about 30,000 not tied up at all.

I have the passwords for utility accounts and such on an encrypted file in google docs- not the. end of the world if she forgets. Only real problem is car tags- she needs to pay them via mail, then transfer into her name under my will.
 

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My wife's been dragging me, kicking and screaming, through our estate planning. We have wills in a fancy binder now, and all that. Kudos to her for being the responsible one.

The most painful part, for me, was providing the password for my password vault. All of my passwords go into my vault (which is just an encrypted file on my laptop and an app) and the vault password gives access to all of its contents. I take my information security pretty seriously, and giving someone else that password felt like cutting my own wrists.

I wrote the password and brief instructions for using the vault app on a notecard and taped it to the inside back cover of our will. That satisfied my wife.

I tell myself that an adversary would have to get their hands on our will, find the notecard, and then come acquire physical access to my laptop to make use of it. That's not as high a barrier as I would like, but it's something.
There are apps you can put on your PC, Mac, and smart phone that essentially do the same thing. Keepass is one, then you can have it automanically backup to Dropbox and it will update across all devices. You just need to remember or record one password for posterity. I do keep a hard copy of passwords to my investment accounts in a safe, those will be the most important for my family in the event of my demise.
 

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Crazy Cat Lady
Plan to Alamo at home.
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19,162 Posts
If you use Chrome Google will save your passwords if you OK it. I have found it very useful as my old computer died some months back and I was quickly able to switch everything to my husband's computer.
 

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I wish my FIL was as thoughtful as the OP. It took 3 days to find his will and it was in a bag full of junk mail buried under dozens of other bags of junk mail deep in a closet. Almost threw it out with other piles of trash. It took almost a year for us to locate all of his accounts and get the MIL's finances straight as she had no idea or had any access to any of it. An extremely frustrating circumstance.

This is a great subject to consider.
 

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The Black Death
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2,251 Posts
If you use Chrome Google will save your passwords if you OK it. I have found it very useful as my old computer died some months back and I was quickly able to switch everything to my husband's computer.
In the past I allowed my browsers to remember passwords but there are a ton of browser hacks that steal passwords from browsers now. I currently use "Last Pass." I pay for it. It also helps me create new and very complex passwords.

Almost all of my accounts are 2 Factor as well. When I log in, I get a text message or an email, and I have to put the code in a browser, so that even if they hack the website I'm logging into, database access to my data is more secure.
 

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That'll be the day...
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My dad had a hand written Will.... it was a HUGE issue and for some of the assets, us kids had to do a Quit Claim Deed to give everything to Mom. It was a lesson to all of us.

The wife and I have crafted and printed out our wills and 17 other docs to have two sigs and Notary... so that isn't a problem for our kids.
 
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