Years ago, before online banking, finding financial records was as ‘easy’ as searching for that old shoebox stuffed with check registers and financial statements in your home office/kitchen.
These days bank accounts accessed online require passwords and often multiple layers of security. According to one 2013 study by a national bank 87% of high net worth people knew where to find their will or other important documents, but only 45% had organized their digital passwords for online accounts.
The result, according to a New York Times story, can be weeks and months of struggle by family members trying to put together lists required by the court. Often multiple trips to the local bank branch or time on hold with help desks are required to sort things out.
Security experts will advise you not to write down passwords, but they need to accessible to help you settle an estate. There are a range on programs that will help you keep track of your log-ins and passwords.
Many people, aware of the numerous scams and fishing attacks online are afraid to give out online passwords even to email accounts. Some seniors are even hesitant to create a list and give it to their children.
Experts note that there are a number of items you need to track to ensure things are sorted out.
Make sure you maintain a list of digital information and send to someone you trust; make sure someone knows who has the information and leave instructions for how things should be handled, as well as instructions for the location of your estate plan.
Very often, if you have a long-term relationship with a trusted family attorney, they can help you with your list and the details you need. If you need advice the team at Bennett & Watson is here to help.