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Normally here at MedeFile, we try to be upbeat and positive about the medical issues and solutions around us. Even with that attitude, though, one can’t ignore death. It comes to all of us eventually and the more prepared we are for it, the better off we and our families will be. One aspect of death in today’s world is passwords.

All of us have digital lives. Some are more active online than others, but almost without exception, all of us have an online presence somewhere. While a lot of attention is paid to how that presence affects our lives, careers, and such, few have talked about how that affects our deaths as well.

When someone dies, they often leave behind a group of friends, extended family, and business associates who only knew them or primarily communicated with the online. When the person passes, those people are left not knowing what’s happened. Worse, family members are often at a loss as to how to contact those people or access financial records such as PayPal and online banking.

Why? Because the deceased didn’t leave behind passwords.

The process of closing a PayPal account for someone who’s died, when you don’t know the password and information for that account, is long-winded and painstaking. The online payment company isn’t going to just shut down someone’s account because somebody calls and claims they’ve died. It works the same for just about everything else. Without specific passwords or provisions in the Will, these things often just get left unattended.

Do you have a password plan as a part of your Last Will and Testament? Many of today’s better Wills included this as a part of their provisions. I highly recommend that you make sure that your information is left somewhere safe where your family can find it if you’ve gone. At the very least, they should be able to notify your Facebook friends or distant relatives.

There are also password vaults and other tools available that allow you to store all of these things safely and, upon receipt of a death certificate, they will release the information to your designees. For those with complex online lives, this may be an ideal solution.

  • By Kevin Hauser Submitted on May 17th, 2011

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