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Financial documentation in case of death
Old 09-15-2019, 11:53 AM   #1
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Financial documentation in case of death

A lot of articles Iíve read suggest creating a document that details all things financial for your survivors, including usernames and passwords to banks, brokerages, etc. While I completely understand the utility of such a document (and as my fatherís executor, I would find this incredibly helpful when he passes) the security risks give me agita. Iím a retired CIO (IT management), and account security has always been top priority for me.

I have a printed out financial plan that explains our accounts, investing philosophy, withdrawal and tax strategies, etc., but I am loathe to put usernames and passwords in a printout. I keep login info in a password vault, and Iím loathe to print out the access info for that, too.

The good news is that my partner has her own accounts and will be fine for years without accessing my money, so if there is a lot of rigamarole getting access, it will be just annoying.

Iím interested to hear what folks do about this.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:59 AM   #2
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Similar concerns here. It is the keys to the kingdom.

While I haven't done anything yet, I may address it by having a document with ciphered list of usernames and passwords and then separate encription key for usernames and a separate encription key for passwords.... all in separate places.

I would think that should be good enough.
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:18 PM   #3
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A further complication is that you are encouraged, and sometimes forced to change passwords periodically. So you'd have to keep that document up to date.

Maybe a better way is to give the answers to your security questions, so they could reset the passwords?

Is there anything different with respect to mental incapacity (assuming a proper POA doc) and death?
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:30 PM   #4
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My husband and my executor have the combination to my safe where I keep a detailed list of financial institutions (banks, investment co., stock trading accounts, credit cards) with address and phone number and account numbers. Never thought to give them online access. Why would you give online access? My husband has the password for our local bank that I update when I change it but he doesn't use it or bother with any of our finances. I've told him if anything happens to me to see our tax preparer and the executor, my cousin. Still not understanding why you would want online access. Is it so you can move money around or close the account before the institution finds out that the owner is deceased? I think when my husband and I opened our IRA accounts at Fidelity we were told that we couldn't "play" in each others accounts.
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:47 PM   #5
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I identify with above response. What good is online access ( username and password) if you are not legally authorized to act. Having a list of instructions including institutions and account numbers is good. Better to focus on beneficiary and POD designations for each account.
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitwdw View Post
My husband and my executor have the combination to my safe where I keep a detailed list of financial institutions (banks, investment co., stock trading accounts, credit cards) with address and phone number and account numbers. Never thought to give them online access. Why would you give online access? My husband has the password for our local bank that I update when I change it but he doesn't use it or bother with any of our finances. I've told him if anything happens to me to see our tax preparer and the executor, my cousin. Still not understanding why you would want online access. Is it so you can move money around or close the account before the institution finds out that the owner is deceased? I think when my husband and I opened our IRA accounts at Fidelity we were told that we couldn't "play" in each others accounts.
Fidelity set us up so we could "play" in each other's accounts; I think it is a worthwhile capability to have.

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Old 09-15-2019, 01:12 PM   #7
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Fidelity set us up so we could "play" in each other's accounts; I think it is a worthwhile capability to have.

Marc

Pretty sure (but not positive) I can legally look at my husband's account but I'm not suppose to buy and sell on his account. When I open my account online I can see his but have to log onto his account to buy and sell. I think we were told this when the accounts were opened. Since he had/has no interest I did "play" in his account and picked his index funds and individual stocks. Something in the back of my brain is saying the legal part had to do with Fidelity responsibility. I'll take a look on Fidelity's site and see if I can find it. These are our IRA accounts.
Found on Fidelity's web site that there are 4 levels of account access:

Inquiry Access: you can view and make inquiries
Limited Authority: you can view and make inquiries plus trade securities & options and incur margin debt.
Full Authority:Includes all the above plus make tax elections, withdraw & transfer, IRA rollovers, re characterizations and Roth conversions.
Power of Attorney: can do everything under "full authority" plus initiate certain account maintenance.


I did check our accounts and I've got full access to my husband's. Don't know why I thought I couldn't legally play. We've only had these accounts 3 1/2 years. They were rollovers from other jobs. My husband panics when the market drops so I'm glad he doesn't have trading access. He'd be selling everything and buying cd's or worse, annuities. Even though he knows how well we've done being invested in equities.
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:13 PM   #8
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A good discussion here, I have a simple will to cover the house, cars and personal belongings. All financial holdings have beneficiary designations or POD designations. I think keeping it simple makes the most sense for anyone with few heirs and limited property holdings.
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by splitwdw View Post
Still not understanding why you would want online access. Is it so you can move money around or close the account before the institution finds out that the owner is deceased? I think when my husband and I opened our IRA accounts at Fidelity we were told that we couldn't "play" in each others accounts.
I wouldn't be so quick to accuse the OP of encouraging dishonesty. BTW, you can "play" in each others IRA accounts at Fidelity, if you fill out the POA forms. Authorized accounts appear under your log in.

OP, I have a detailed financial document for my husband that I keep updated as needed. I save the file to a flash drive and my husband copies it to his flash drive as needed. No printouts. It doesn't have log in information. We have a separate file for that info but, again, not in print.

If I became unable to manage our finances, he has the info he needs so that the bills keep getting paid. He could set up his own online access, if required by the financial institution. (Years ago, one of our brokerage firms only allowed one log in per account, even for a joint account.) If he outlives me, then he has the info he needs to get joint accounts into his name and inherit the accounts that are in my name.

I have a similar brief document printed out for our kids in the unlikely event we both get hit by a Mack truck.

A survivor primarily needs to know where the accounts are.
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by splitwdw View Post
Pretty sure (but not positive) I can legally look at my husband's account but I'm not suppose to buy and sell on his account. When I open my account online I can see his but have to log onto his account to buy and sell. I think we were told this when the accounts were opened. Since he had/has no interest I did "play" in his account and picked his index funds and individual stocks. Something in the back of my brain is saying the legal part had to do with Fidelity responsibility. I'll take a look on Fidelity's site and see if I can find it. These are our IRA accounts.
If you fill out a POA, Fidelity will let you trade on your husband's account, and he can do the same for you. We have our Roth IRA's set up that way with them.
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:20 PM   #11
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I have everything in a binder for our 2 kids.
Everything financially is with Fidelity except our bank account.
Our life insurance and will. Both property information and a list of all my accounts and passwords like: yahoo email, Apple ID, Florida Power and Light, Gmail, Country Club account #, Southwest account#, Amazon, Dropbox. Along with my short list of directions. Should be very simple for them.
Also, a love letter to each of my kids and grandkids.
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:24 PM   #12
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All our passwords and access information are in our 1Password files, and we each know the other's master password to that file.
In the event of temporary forgetfulness, the master passwords are also in the safe, in a non-obvious way.
And of course those files are backed up six ways from Sunday.
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:51 PM   #13
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We have agent authorization over each otherís accounts which means we have full access to each otherís individual accounts such as IRAís.

For when the last of us goes I maintain a list of all our accounts and contact details with our wills, which I update annually.

In the UK it is illegal to access someone elseís accounts using their username and password. When my Dad died, my sister was executor and even though she knew his bank details, the bank moved his money into a separate account accessible by the executor of his will.
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:51 PM   #14
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My wife have done this (planning for one of us to not be here someday), and continue to maintain it.

In addition to the obvious problem of having all of the passwords written down in a document, passwords can and will change over time. Hard to maintain.

My wife and I use lastpass - we share some passwords using lastpass (like netflix). If I update my netflix, she gets the update via sharing.

Others, like my google account, my banking account and such - we do not share. However, the master password for each of us is in a lockbox. It is there not only for eachother - but also for our executor in the event of our both passing. lastpass has all of our accounts listed, along with the website url and the credentials.
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Old 09-15-2019, 02:22 PM   #15
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Our accts are all either joint or IRA/401K individually owned where spouse is beneficiary. I'm assuming spouse can work w/ rep to be verified and transact in joint accounts immediately or assume ownership of the retirement accounts w/ appropriate documentation. They can then set up their preference on transaction methods. Attempted to train in automated telephone transactions
so no need for paper docs to cause agita but progress was very difficult.

There is a list of banks/brokers and rough value of accounts (but no detailed info of specific accounts). Statements come in the mail monthly/quarterly so detail is available there.
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Old 09-15-2019, 02:30 PM   #16
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I keep a list of the various financial institutions, the account #s, and primary phone # and a year end value and then try to attach the year end summary for each. That is all I needed to handle dads estate, never did anything online as once he passed we had to set up new accounts for mom anyway and have it transferred over so really not sure what username and passwords would do for anyone.

My biggest concern was always mystery accounts which before I walked thru this all with my parents, there were many of those. It took almost a week working with them as they couldn't explain where or what some accounts were. I didn't realize my mom actually didn't even know where the inherited property was other than "up north".

THOSE are the things I don't want to have my family have to deal with. Here's my accounts, call this number, send them the death certificate, set up your own account, money will be transferred into it.. DONE.
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Old 09-15-2019, 02:44 PM   #17
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Lastpass has implemented functionality for this exact scenario.

https://blog.lastpass.com/2016/07/ho...y-access.html/
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:11 PM   #18
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I wouldn't be so quick to accuse the OP of encouraging dishonesty. BTW, you can "play" in each others IRA accounts at Fidelity, if you fill out the POA forms. Authorized accounts appear under your log in.

Not accusing OP of encouraging dishonesty, wondering why you would need to give/keep online passwords which is what this thread was about. All you need is a list of companies and the account numbers for survivors. I read through the other posts real quick and still don't see an answer of why you'd need to give someone else your passwords.

You do not need to fill out a POA form (I've never filled one out. I make copies from the POA that my attorney gave me.) to "play" in each others accounts, see my edited post.
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:45 PM   #19
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Fidelity set us up so we could "play" in each other's accounts; I think it is a worthwhile capability to have.
I agree it's worthwhile to have, but your authority to act on someone else's account dies with them.
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:53 PM   #20
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I agree it's worthwhile to have, but your authority to act on someone else's account dies with them.
I realize that some may not understand that, but I do. Hopefully, Marc does also.
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