GYST's Guide to Accounts, Passwords and Digital Details
They say the devil is in the details, and when it comes to your digital life, it couldn't be more true.
Whether you are finally corralling all your accounts, usernames and passwords – or trying to help track someone else's stuff down – it helps to have a list of the ‘types' of things you should be looking for and what could be out there, somewhere.
GYST Tip: It's much easier to do this in advance, the 1-2 hours you spend now could very easily become at least 20+ hours, if not 100+ someone else has to try to dig through all your stuff to find it.
Top 4 Things You Need to Round Up
1. Contact Information
Spouse, family, close friends, and important people listed in your will and living will should be found here. List out their full name, relationship, phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses, and any other relevant information.
2. Important Documents
- Marriage Certificate (certified copy)
- Birth Certificate
- Death Certificate
- Social security
- Ownership proof (Deeds, Titles)
- Auto Insurance
- Home Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- Long Term Care
3. Banking and Financial Accounts
Note that a lot of these accounts may use online banking or emailed statements: note the company, url, username, password & account #'s if you have one.
- Checking account(s):
- Savings account(s):
- Other bank account(s):
- Online accounts:
- Mutual funds:
- Retirement funds:
- Account(s) on auto-pay:
- College savings:
4. Medical and Health Records
- Medical Insurance:
- Existing Conditions:
- Allergies to medications:
- Primary Care Physician:
- Primary Care Physician:
Online Accounts & Digital Assets
According to data from online security company McAfee, online users across the globe value their digital assets at more than $35,000. However, while they can be highly valued, these digital assets and online accounts aren't always recognized as property – or transferable property – the same way your home (or items in the home) are viewed by the courts. Laws about ‘Digital property' are young or non-existent.
Companies are starting to get better policies and (as of this writing) eight states have formally addressed the issue - but getting access to digital accounts for many families range from being a hassle to a downright long and expensive legal battle. Lets go for better safe than sorry.
Jot down or safely share the critical usernames and passwords to be able to get into computers, tablets and cell phones.
Start with basic account names and passwords.
- Home computer
- Cell phone
If any passwords are stored on the computer, if they checked the "remember me" checkbox, you might have an easier time accessing some of the basic accounts:
- Email accounts:
- Online Storage:
- Social: (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin , Pinterest, Instagram)
- Movies & TV: (iTunes/Netflix/hulu)
- Books & Audiobooks: (Amazon/Kindle)
- Music: (Pandora,Spotify)
- Coupons or Discounts:
- Airline Miles:
- Travel: (Orbitz, Priceline)
3. Other Assets or Property
Anything else floating around out there?
- Digital Dollars: (PayPal, Bitcoin)
- Art or Creative Products: (eBooks/Podcasts/Etsy/Craigslist/eBay)
- Domain names or websites:
- Intellectual Property: (Videos, Trademarks or Patents)
Storing & Sharing
Once you've gotten the basics recorded, you'll want to let a few trusted others know where or how to access it. Safely and securely, of course.
The Manila Folder
In many cases, old-school record keeping on paper can work just fine. An ‘In Case of Emergency' folder in the metal file cabinet, spiral-bound notebook on top of the fridge, even a 3-ring binder with copies of important documents (like your will) and a phone list you can give to one or two people you trust.
Online Storage and Password Managers
For many people, storing information online is easier, more convenient and feels more secure. There are many options that range from free, password protected locations in the cloud – to more secure or super-encrypted security for a monthly fee.