Make your passwords accessible to your heirs | Coming of Age… Again

How to make your online sites accessible to your loved ones.

  • Monday, January 7, 2019 4:58pm
  • Opinion

By Rich Willard

Kirkland Senior Council

If you don’t wake up tomorrow, how will your wife, children, heirs or the executor of your estate access your passwords and those important sites?

If you want to stop worrying about this, start now while you have the time and a clear head to avoid a myriad of problems later. Password security is vitally important in preventing the electronic hacks and frauds that threaten today’s society. To achieve password security and optimum succession of your life’s private details, follow these five steps.

Download a good encrypted password program on your phone so it’s always with you wherever and whenever you want to connect online. Get a mobile phone that has biometric recognition — which requires your fingerprint to open the phone and explore its contents — making it impossible for thieves to take over your cyber life if you were to lose your phone.

The password program will prompt you to input all the sites you visit, along with the corresponding usernames and passwords. Or use the encrypted auto-generated passwords offered by the mobile app.

Next, add a spouse, family member, or trusted representative’s fingerprint to your phone so they can “enter” your private life should the unthinkable or unexpected happen and you’re no longer of this world or you’ve had a traumatic brain injury. Input that second fingerprint as a safeguard. It only takes a minute to do this for the phone and on your password program as well.

One of the password programs below has a wallet feature that allows you to enter all your credit cards, their expiration dates, pin codes and the customer service phone numbers. Load all your credit cards, important account information, every website, all the details and passwords. This information is important to keep secure, so having it in your secure password program eliminates the need to keep record of these details separately.

Spend time with your “successor team” to show them what you’ve set up. Walk them through it. Have them take some notes and give them a printed summary of where to find your important files and how to access your apps and programs. Even list your social networks so these can be taken down or placed in the ‘In memorium’ status.

There are many good password programs, so the best thing is for you to browse and compare features and costs to your individual needs.

Here are three: Roboform, Lastpass, and Identity Safe. Choose the one that you like best.

“Coming of Age… Again” is edited by the Kirkland Senior Council, a group the City of Kirkland created in 2001 to advocate for older adults in our community. The council is made up of people living or working in Kirkland who want to help improve and maintain the quality of life for people in Kirkland as they grow older. Membership is open throughout the year.

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