What Was Grandma’s Password?

It’s a realization many people are coming to in this digital age. You read stories about soldiers killed overseas whose families can’t access their e-mail accounts to read and save their last messages. Or spouses who have to hire lawyers to get access to and delete their deceased partners’ Facebook pages. We tend to plan carefully for the disposition of our physical assets at our deaths—homes, cars, and the like—but many people forget to plan for loved ones’ access to their digital assets.

It’s important to create a financial inventory that lists your financial assets, how they’re structured—investment specifics, beneficiaries, what documents are on file—and how to contact the institution holding the assets. Don’t forget automatic payments for things like utilities, cell phones, and newspapers that you’ve set up through financial institutions or directly with businesses. Include your social media and other account types too—anything with a log-on.


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