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Solving the problem of passwords for executors of estates

| May 1, 2019 | Estate Administration |

Illinois residents use passwords to protect their finances and privacy. These passwords can keep hackers out. Unfortunately, the passwords that protect a person can create problems if the individual passes away or becomes incapacitated. It is good for individuals to think about how their loved ones will be able to access their data if this was to happen.

In the past, estate administration was a lot easier because the process was much more simple: An executor of a will would need to send a change of address card to the post office and then wait for brokerage statements, property tax statements and bank statements to arrive before beginning the process of closing a family member’s estate.

Today, most individuals carry out many business transactions digitally. This makes transferring funds, checking balances and placing trades easier during their lifetime. However, the downside is that this creates a difficult situation when an executor of an estate or a surviving spouse cannot access the account, especially when complex passwords are used.

One option that an individual may consider is to give their passwords to a trusted family member. This option is not as secure, but it will allow the trusted individual to access the deceased’s computer, electronic devices and financial statements. Another option would be to write down all of the passwords and then have them stored in a safety deposit box. The executor of the will would then be able to gain access to the safety deposit box and all of the passwords upon the individual’s death.

Many questions arise when a person has the job of closing a deceased family member’s estate. A person may want to consult with an attorney who has experience in estate administration. Some of the things they may provide advice on include asset valuation, distribution of assets and inheritance tax. The attorney might represent their client if litigation is necessary.