Three years ago an article on digital wills on Macfilos created a lot of interest. As more and more of our life is entrusted to the internet and to helpful applications, sorting out the mess is an increasing challenge for executors. I constantly recommend entrusting passwords and sensitive information to 1Password, a superb application that synchronises across all your devices and is ready at a moment’s notice to remember stuff you have long forgotten. The general idea is that 1Password remembers everything, you need remember only the one password. This is a difficult and unique sequence that you do not use anywhere else, particularly not on the internet.
But what happens when you die, or as the squeamish will have it, “pass away”. Who knows the password to 1Password in order to unlock all your secrets, your bank account access codes, your access to iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, Facebook and hundreds more? Who, even, knows the password to open up your computer or phone?
In most the cases, the answer is no one. This is why it is important to set up a digital will, primarily to unlock all those pesky web sites but also to provide the basic information that an executor will need. I described in the article how to set up 1Password to make it easy for anyone to find all the critical information but the problem of how to permit that initial access remains.
At some point there has to be a set of written instructions, if only to explain how to turn on the computer and access 1Password. A new 1Password Emergency Kit solves this problem by providing a fillable pro-forma that reminds you of all the information you should be making available to an executor. Charles Hamons designed the form and you can download it here.
I would recommend using this form and updating it regularly, certainly every time the main password is changed. The only problem that remains is where to store the form. Perhaps the best choice is to leave it with a solicitor who also holds your Will, but this is awkward if you need to change passwords frequently. Perhaps the best choice is to keep it in a home safe or hide it somewhere where it can be found easily when needed.
Increasingly, our life is stored digitally and this makes it difficult, if not impossible, for relicts (I love that wonderful Victorian description of those left behind) to access your secrets. With this 1Password Emergency Kit you can provide guidance and, even, tell them what you want them to do with your Twitter or Facebook account, even though you may be past caring.