photo: courtesy Palo Coleman
We're making our list, checking it twice: where the deed to our house is, what our bank account numbers are, who insures our health, house and car.
This is not for a phantom Santa. It's our attempt at a 40/70 list--the one our grown kids are supposed to ask for when they're 40 and we're 70, or thereabouts. Ours haven't asked yet, but we're getting ready. A sometimes overlooked part of that list: passwords and other cues for digital access to our accounts.
It used to be that when "the time" came, our grown kids could walk (tearfully, of course) through our home and find all the valuable physical objects and important papers, check our snail mail for account statements and bills, and otherwise get their hands on what they needed to pull together our estate. Today much of that is either delivered via email, stored in the cloud or kept in a folder on our computer. That means it's probably protected by passwords--for the accounts themselves as well as for our smartphones, laptops, email and social media accounts (where sentimentally precious photographs may be stored). Gaining access to those privacy-protected accounts could cost our estate time and money.
All of which means access to the digital side of our estate should be part of the 40/70 list. But not necessarily, estate planners say, part of our will. That's because wills are changed infrequently--or at least they should be--while online info needs regular updating, especially when we "forget" a password and have to change it, yet again.