Living in this digital age, an average person must remember multiple passwords for social media, banking, work, student accounts, and more. But what happens to your digital assets and online accounts when you die? Can you pass on your passwords after your death?
Death is an inevitable part of life, and we must be prepared to face it regardless. And it is better for your family and friends if you put your affairs in order and make things easy for them. This step is just as important as setting up a will or a power of attorney.
Fortunately, companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook allow users to set up legacy contacts to pass on their accounts. Several password managers can also help users store their passwords and personal documents. Or you could do it the old-fashioned way and write down your passwords.
There was even an instance where a cryptocurrency exchange platform lost access to $250 million. It was due to its founder’s death, as he was the only one who knew the password to the company’s cold wallet.
Pass on passwords after your death?
1. Pass on your passwords the old-fashioned way
Most people tend to keep all their documents together, so one way to pass on your passwords is to store them together with those. You can write all your latest passwords in a sealed document and keep them safe along with your other documents.
Doing this will help your family members as they can access all your credentials simultaneously. However, this is not the safest way to do things, as in the case of a robbery, this can easily backfire. The written passwords might also become outdated if the person changes them before their death.
2. Password managers
Using a password manager is the best way to pass passwords to family members. Services like 1Password and LastPass offer to generate and store complex passwords for all your accounts. They even let users set up digital heirs who can access their accounts after their deaths.
1Passwords also has an emergency kit feature that lets users print out a document with their login information. It even includes a QR code that lets heirs sign into your account. LastPass also lets users set a wait time during which they can deny access to their account if they are alive.
3. Don’t forget about two-factor authentication
Currently, many online accounts require two-factor authentication and knowing just the passwords won’t cut it. So make sure you pass on your phone and its passcode to your trusted contacts. This way, they can approve the 2FA request notification on your phone.
Without it, your family members might get locked out of your accounts even after knowing the password. Trust me; you don’t want to trouble your family by forcing them to use your finger or your Face ID to access your phone after your death.
Note: You can also add another person’s biometrics (Face ID or fingerprint) on your phone in an emergency.
Pass on your online account without telling your passwords
Trusted Contact For Your Google Account
Google is the most important account that you want to pass on first, as it is connected to all other accounts. Fortunately, Google has an Inactive Account Manager that lets you pass on your account after a period of inactivity.
To use this feature, go to Manage your Google Account> Data & privacy. Scroll down to More options and select Make a plan for your digital legacy.
Users can now set the inactivity time period from three months to 18 months. Google will also contact the user one month before handing over the account. Next, you can add up to email addresses of the people you want to give access to your account.
You can add up to 10 people here and select what data you want to share with them. Users can pass on data linked to their Google accounts, such as Drive, YouTube Music, Photos, Mail, and Stadia, purchased books, movies, games, etc.
You must add your contact’s number to help confirm their identity. Users can also set an automated response that will inform anyone who emails them that they are no longer using this account.
Facebook Legacy account
You can set up a legacy account if you don’t want to use a password manager or pass on your password. Facebook has a legacy account system that lets you choose another user to memorialize your account. Once your contact has memorialized your account, the word Remembering will be shown next to your profile, indicating that you’re deceased.
This setting will also remove your account from public search results and remove birthday notifications. Your legacy contact will not be able to log into your account, but they will be able to manage your account. They can write a pinned post for your profile, change your profile and cover photos, manage tribute posts, or request the removal of your account.
To choose a legacy contact go to Profile > Settings & Privacy > Settings > General > Memorialization Settings. From here, you can add a legacy contact to manage your account after your death.
Memorialize Instagram account
Instagram works a bit differently from Facebook, as your contacts will have to put in a request to memorialize your account. A valid request must provide a link to an obituary or a news article to memorialize an account. Immediate family members can also request to remove your account by filling out this form.
We hope this article helped you deal with the passing of your loved ones and ensure their online accounts are properly handled.