As more and more people opt for keeping their finances and other affairs strictly online in this digital age the possibility of fraud and other electronically related thefts will likely grow. Thankfully, most institutions keep up with their security protocols and require several levels of security before you can access accounts and other personal information. However, it is up to you to make sure that you keep your physical held passwords and personal information stored as equally secure. Once a thief gets a hold of this info, there is not much to stop them from accessing and stealing funds from your online accounts.
I've recently read some disturbing news about fraudsters doing just that to the estates of decedents. But how did they get my passwords? Well, remember, probate is public. And some testators have been including their passwords to their online accounts within their wills. That is something that one must NEVER do. This can lead to what we'll call: Obtain and Drain. Meaning that once a will becomes public domain anyone can pay the required fee to obtain the will, get your passwords and account information, and then drain those accounts.
There are many different options for placing your usernames and passwords with people you trust, but I would highly recommend that this information be kept in a safety deposit box or with your trusted estate litigation Attorney along with a list of accounts that go with them. That way, you know everything is safe. And when the time comes the attorney has everything they need at hand in order to begin the administration process as soon as possible.
*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.