I was at my parents’ house the other day and attempting to access one of their online accounts (by their request). However, my mother didn’t know the password and my father uses his own system to store online information. After much searching, I found the account information, but if I had to do this for all his accounts, it would be a nightmare. After that experience, I worry if something happened to my parents how easy it would be to access all their online accounts they have set up. Shortly after that experience, I received an email from LastPass regarding my password management system informing me I could add an emergency online access.
Now, I know I’ve mentioned online accounts before, but the combination of these events really made me want to write about it again. So much of our lives are done online now that it dramatically changes the practical aspect of how families manage and access assets when something does happen. In the past, it was much easier to go through a loved one’s files to determine what bills to pay and what assets existed. However, when you pay bills online or have account statements emailed, the paper trail no longer exists. As such, it’s extremely important to either keep a list of bills and assets OR give someone online access.
As you might have guessed, I’m a big fan of LastPass or other online encrypted password management systems. I think they are extremely easy to use (open the website, login, and it automatically saves/updates your password) and convenient. I can’t speak to the technical encryption and safety, but when my IT company (CMIT Solutions) suggests it, I personally, feel very safe trusting it.
However, if you’re a bit more wary of online systems (like some of my family), at least form a list of your own of accounts.
Some sites are even updating their settings to allow online access (including facebook and google) if something happens to you. Take advantage of this!
No matter your personal opinions on online security and account access, make sure you have a way for a trusted loved one to determine what accounts and bills you have, (Dad).