When Should I Share Digital Assets?

digitalkeyWhen I hear people raise concern over sharing their passcodes with a spouse or loved one, I immediately feel a pang in my gut. I don’t understand and too often loved ones have to deal with the consequences.

There was a period early on as I was stepping in to help, when financial institutions refused to accept the Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA). USAA and Fidelity were two of the first refusals I faced. We didn’t have an ongoing relationship with the attorney who drafted the DPOA and I didn’t think we could update it because my parent’s had both been diagnosed with different types of dementia. Both firms said they wouldn’t accept a DPOA that was more than two (Fidelity) or five (USAA) years old. Ummmm. What part of “durable” did they not understand?

Later, when we looped a geriatrician in to help with mom and dad’s care, he documented that both of my parents had decisional capacity to update their DPOA. We did update it, but I still ran into financial institutions (Wells Fargo and Commonwealth One) that refused to accept them. We could have had our estate attorney initiate a law suit — there is a statue in Virginia that was created to help — but in the midst of caregiving — who wants to start a law suit?  I just wanted things to work as planned.

My dad willingly worked with me to set up online access which allowed me to act on his behalf digitally. It was his intent for me to help and this was an easy way for us to solve the roadblock the financial institutions were creating. It is one of the reasons I write down and show my family how to access all of my online accounts. I want to make sure they could easily step in should I be unavailable.

I must be boring, I am not worried about my husband reading my email. I set up my son as my legacy contact with Facebook, and have used the Google+ Inactive Account Manager options.

What I do know is that the online tools helped me immensely when I was helping my parents. I also have enough friends who unexpectedly lost a loved one and didn’t know how to access the online bill pay, or login to the gmail account where all the digital statements and bills were being delivered. I don’t want to ever do this to my family.

For a quick toolkit containing worksheets to capture your usernames, passcodes, and security questions, click here to download this free chapter from the best-selling MemoryBanc: Your Workbook for Organizing Life.

For specific details and a good how-to guide on the policies and recommendations visit this story on CNET. Followed. 


Related posts:

Will Digital Data Ever be Secure?

The Digital Keys to your Estate

Don’t Forget to Document your Passcodes (or have your kids document theirs)

Taming the Internet


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