Who will know your passwords after you die?
When an accident left her mother paralyzed, Annette Adamska found that she was locked out of her mother's online presence. She was unable to login to online banking, social media accounts, and anything else that might require verification. Her mother had kept all of her passwords in a journal, but they were written in an indecipherable code.
Luckily, Annette's mother remained aware and alert before her death and was able to help decode the journal, but the experience showed her how difficult it could be for families to access all of those parts of someone online life after they die. So she started a company called Back Up Your Life, which helps people plan for their death by making sure their families will be able track down their online bill payments, close their social media accounts, and all the other things that might fall through the cracks.
Adamska had a few tips for anyone who wants to make sure they are prepared:
- Use a Password Manager!
You can not only document all the places you exist online, but also include all SORTS of information in the notes section.
- Have Facebook Account?
You can appoint a Legacy Contact, who can either keep your page up, convert it to a Memorial Page, or remove it completely after you pass. Choose someone you trust to follow through with your wishes.
- Do you use Google for your email account?
Sign up for the Inactive Account Manager. It means YOU choose who can have access to your email account if a certain amount of time goes by without you logging in. It could be days, weeks, months, years. Totally your call.
- Most importantly: talk to your loved ones about your wishes.
Don't assume that people know what you want—that's usually not the case. Take an opportunity to share your core values so that way someone else can just say: "I'm doing what my loved one wanted."
Another resource Adamska recommends is The Conversation Project, a service to help people prepare for end-of-life care.