Keep your digital passwords safe, but not in a will, says Laredo
With many people storing information about their financial affairs and music collections digitally, the question of how an estate trustee can access secured information is becoming more valid – but this doesn’t mean passwords should be stored in a will, says Toronto wills and estates lawyer Lisa Laredo.
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”There needs to be some record of the material stored on a computer. I do not think that passwords have any place in a will. During the course of time, they are changed. You do not want to change your will every time you change your password. A will deals with assets. A password is not an asset. It is a means of access to an asset,” says Laredo.“I have never yet seen a will with this information,” she adds.
Instead, Laredo recommends testators create a memorandum setting out their passwords and make sure to keep the memorandum updated. This should include digital information for bank accounts, insurance policies and pensions, she says, and the trustee and power of attorney should know where this information is stored.
“It should be stored in a safety deposit box or other secure place. You do not want anyone gaining access to this information while you are alive and capable,” she says.
Laredo also says this type of memorandum is also useful in the case of inability to manage property. “A person holding a power of attorney can use this information to manage the persons affairs during incapacity,” she adds.