User Name, Password, Security Questions. These are phrases which have become imbedded in our daily lives.
I remember a day when opening an account meant sitting with a live person. My “user name” was my given legal name, my “password” was my driver’s license, and my “security question” was my Social Security Number. Now we open accounts online. Our user name is some cute play on words, names and numbers which in some way reflect some aspect of who we are or what we like. Our password is some convoluted combination of numbers, lower and upper case letters, and symbols. Our security question is our first car, first pet, favorite teacher, high school mascot or some other fond memory peculiar to us.
Now, writing about all of the above would make for a meaningless column if each of us only had one online account. But, most of us don’t have just one online account. We have Apple accounts, Google accounts, Facebook accounts, Microsoft accounts, ebay accounts, Amazon accounts, Snapchat accounts, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts, online banking accounts, online brokerage accounts, online medical and health portals…and the list goes on. We are told not to use the same user name and password for our accounts. Oh, and don’t forget the user name and password just to open and gain access to our digital device(s) of choice where we access and use all of our online accounts.
If locating each “post-it” or otherwise keeping track of every account, every user name, every password and every security question is difficult for the account owner, imagine the near impossibility it will be for loved ones or family members to access these accounts should an individual pass away or become incapacitated. And with applicable laws and account privacy restrictions in place, accessing a deceased or incapacitated account owner’s online account information becomes even more problematic. Unless, of course, you have taken the proper steps to ensure and permit easy access to your digital devices and online accounts.
Florida has enacted laws aimed at allowing family members, loved ones or other trusted relations to access computers, cell phones, and other digital devices and to access and manage, or delete, the various online accounts accessible through those devices. However, those laws require proactive steps by an account owner to implement them, and there must be a readily available and easy to understand inventory of each online account and the “secret” means of accessing them.
If you are having difficulty inventorying all your online accounts and access information, and want to ensure these accounts are accessible upon your death or incapacity by your loved ones, at Bob Bible Law we have the knowledge and over 30 years of experience to assist you with these endeavors.