While not directly related to estate planning, a more controversial issue arises about passwords. While any IT person will advise against making a comprehensive list of your accounts and associated passwords, those same individuals might not regularly work with a segment of the population that may become ill or lose their memory. There is no perfect solution in this electronic world. Perhaps you prefer to prepare the list of passwords and save it on paper, publish it to your attorney-in-fact under a durable power of attorney, or provide a copy to your legal counsel. Others recommend putting the passwords into a paper file and filing it at the back of your filing cabinet, backwards. The list should be comprehensive and cover whatever assets you access (such as a bank card (such as an ATM), or electronic account whether for bank, brokerage, credit card, loan, and even health related information. It also helps to print out the most recent security questions and the answers too.)
Organize a filing system for important papers. If an alphabetical system is not your style, consider putting all important papers in one place. Documents to be retained include: social security card, copy of birth certificate, legal documents (will, trust, health care proxy, durable power of attorney, marriage license or divorce decree, and funeral-related paperwork. Include on this list your children or next of kin and their addresses. If you should die, and a non-family member is involved, it makes locating family much easier.
Lisa L. Halbert, Esq.
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