Sep 28, 2009

Passwords, PINS and Your Estate Plan

I still chuckle when I think about it: Several years ago humorist Dave Barry wrote an article longing for the good old days, when the only number he needed to know was the number of the bus to board when school let out. Those simple days are long gone, of course. If you have a computer and online access - and most of my clients do these days -- you’ve got a slew of cryptic information to keep track of: PINS, passwords, log-ins, account numbers, secret questions to verify your identify, maybe multiple email addresses. You need all of these to access your online brokerage accounts, bank accounts, websites like Medicare, frequent flyer accounts, social networking sites, email, Facebook, utility companies… well, the list goes on and on.

If you’ve ever forgotten or misplaced one of these numbers or passwords, you know it can be an ordeal in time and energy to retrieve. So just imagine what it would be like for your successor trustee or personal representative if HE had to retrieve it, in the event of your disability or death! The people your Florida estate plan designates to handle these matters are going to need this information. Yet, if you're like most people, you’re probably reluctant to hand over such personal information ahead of time.

Voila: Enter several new online services to solve the dilemma. These services are sort of like the cyberspace version of a safe deposit box. For a one-time or annual fee, you can upload passwords and other private information to a secure account. You designate contact information for those you want to be notified of this information upon your death of disability. A variety of sites offer these kinds of services, among them,,

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