We all have dozens of online accounts each secured with a unique user id and password. How do you protect against loss of your super-secret password list in case of a disaster? What happens if you are completely incapacitated or worse, have an untimely demise? How would your designated representative access your accounts on your behalf to pay bills, transfer funds, or even manage the proper liquidation and distribution of your assets which are all securely locked with access information known only to you? The answer: They wouldn’t. And, worse, without a proper and complete inventory of all online accounts, they might not even know where to look.
In the early days of the World Wide Web, online accounts were predominantly email, content sites (AOL, Compuserve), or Social Media sites. Today virtually every major Bank, Brokerage House, Credit Card Company, and Utility is pushing hard to eliminate paper statements and move management of your accounts completely online. In fact, many accounts may never generate any paper and be created and managed entirely online.
Before the digital age, if a disaster were to strike or even if you were to pass away, there was a good chance that the U.S. Postal Service would continue to deliver your mail and that you or your heir would learn of any accounts they were unaware of because a Statement would be delivered. Today, without paper, just like in Las Vegas, “What happens Online, stays Online” – and in this case locked up and invisible behind an user name and password known only to you.
One way to provide for personal disaster recovery for loss of your password list and enable an Executor or Legal Representative to gain access to your Online Accounts in case of your death or incapacity is with an Online Password Manager.
These programs offer the additional benefit of being able to use one “Master” password to gain access to the inventory list of all of your accounts. This means that you only have to provide one password to your Executor or Legal Guardian for them to gain access to all of the account information. This Master Password can be placed in an envelope and put in a safe deposit box or given to your Attorney or trusted family member, friend, or associate for safe-keeping in case of your incapacity or untimely demise. (This makes the assumption that you have such a person available to you.)
Two other key benefits is that all of your account and password data are stored in a highly encrypted format accessible online via a web browser as well as locally on your computer for when you are not connected to the Internet.
Best practices for Disaster Recovery state that you backup your computer files off-site (away from your home or office) in case of fire, flood, or theft. Your Online Account information and Passwords should be stored off-site as well AND provisions made for a trusted person to have access to them on your behalf in case of incapacity or death.
Two Top Rated Solutions for Password Management are:
LastPass – Free and Premium Versions
– Browser Based with Option to Store on USB Key – Free Version
– Mobile Support and Two Factor Authentication – Premium Version
Wallet – Nominal Cost
– Mac Version for iMac/MacPro and MacBooks
– IOS Version for iPod/iPhone/iPad