A recent case involving the parents of a teen who committed suicide illustrates an evolving consideration in estate planning: the need for parents and executors and other such individuals to get passwords for the accounts their children and others have. The case involving the parents of the teen who committed suicide shows how difficult accessing even children’s accounts can be without having the passwords. In this case Facebook refused to provide their child’s password to the parent and refused also to provide them with access to their son’s account. Facebook cited privacy laws and its own user agreement to support its position.
The consequences of not giving anyone access to your on-line accounts could be wreck even more havoc in the case of say a husband who does the family’s banking on-line but hasn’t told anyone his screen name or passwords. If something happened to the husband the wife may have some or great difficulty getting access to the on-line account. Consequently she wouldn’t know what bills were being paid automatically versus manually, which would add even more stress to an already tragic situation.
The lesson is that while we value our privacy we should provide our user name and passwords to a few trusted individuals and authorize them to access your accounts if something happened to you.