Account Safety in your Will and Digital Access
In this day of scammers and hackers, it seems we must be vigilant to until the day we die. And yet, even with death, there are still concerns to be addressed.
Some individuals, trying to be helpful, list out bank account numbers and sometimes even pin numbers in efforts to assist the administrator of their estate. Upon probate, these documents become public record, therefore it is important to not have such information in them.
However, the estate administrator needs to know where assets are, and how to access them.
One solution would be to put bank accounts into a trust, thereby avoiding probate altogether.
Another solution would be including only the bank where the account is located, and some other partial identifier, such as an account name, or the last four digits of the account.
It is equally important that your administrator be able to gain access to all areas of your life. An awareness we must have, which our grandparents, and possibly our parents, did not not need to consider is digital access.
Digital access to bank accounts to be able to discontinue automatic drafting. This alone would save the estate the attorney’s fees it would cost to claw back payments for services never used. Additionally, digital access includes online accounts such as Amazon, PayPal, E-bay, and the like, anywhere you may have a digital account.
But how? If we follow security measures encouraged by the majority of these providers, we are changing our passwords on a regular basis. This would prevent us from being able to write everything down and put it on the drawer waiting for the day it would be needed.
Then there are social media items. Things like Facebook, Twitter, and all of our various e-mail addresses. Needless to say, this can get rather cumbersome fairly quickly.
Perhaps developing a reset strategy for all of these passwords would allow the administrator to change them for all of these, one e-mail account where everything defaults to for password reset notifications and those time sensitive reset links. Instructions for access to a central e-mail reset account, along with a list of account locations and applicable user identifications would allow an administrator access.
The digital era has brought about many changes, and these changes need to be addressed. Developing an estate plan that addresses these concerns has the potential for a huge upswing, while not making any plan could result in severe loss.