Death: Share your computer, passwords, online things!

by Wendy,

I lost my long-time friend, Terri, who does websites like me. RIP Terri, I sure will miss you!

Terri was only 59, married, still has a daughter in high school, son in college, and gone. She was my only local friend who did online business like me... and we loved to explore new possibilities together. We lunched together monthly for many years now.

This article was left on my site last week... I made a video of it as it says exactly the same message as I am writing about! The book is: I'm Dead, Now What? That sounds bad, but the reality without doing something is even worse.

Well, I have learned another life lesson after Terri's death!

Most of us take care of our wills and prepare a bit for death... but nowadays, so much is online that you also need to share passwords and more! Even if it's a simple list somewhere safe, or on the computer, someone has to carry on, right?

Terri shared nothing -- with her husband on household bills, banking, and all the rest. She and I talked for 3 years (since diagnosed) about how her business would be shared... that never happened.

I think it's part DENIAL. If we don't talk about these realities of life, maybe it will all go away. It doesn't.

Her husband is picking up the pieces bit by bit figuring it all out. I am doing the same for her business online.

Let me tell you -- it's not easy! For every site we need to access, we must do the "lost password" procedure, requiring a code on her phone. I finally have access to all her business accounts. But now have to figure out how she ran her business, how to process orders. It's moving along, but could have been so much easier.

Two Thoughts (I'm sure readers have many more!)

1) If you are married, both parties really need to know the status of financials. How bills are paid, where investments are located, why there are multiple banks (which does what) and more. Just talk about it. Share it somewhere. Please don't assume you will outlive your spouse, or you know best how to do it all -- your plans may not work out.

2) Record internet passwords that survivors will need somewhere. We thought Terri had that, but it wasn't updated and didn't work well at all.

This also happened a few years ago to a friend. Her father, retired university professor, was slowing declining mentally. Little did the family know - he was moving his assets to banks everywhere. There was no reason for it. The daughter, as executor of the estate, lived in a different state and had one heck of a mess to deal with. Who knows if she ever found all of his assets?

Comments for Death: Share your computer, passwords, online things!

Click here to add your own comments

by: loyce

My very successful husband Jack wanted/had zip to do with emails/passwords, et al. When he passed all was simple and I had no frustrations. Thank you, Jack.

by: AMV/ MOon

Hello Loyce,

I am inpressed by the two line you wrote. I would love to live and die like your husband Jack did.

It will be nice if you could write a full details of his methods, so those wo are interest like me, to drop technology from our life, can have an idea how to get rid of all on line accounts and passwords.

For example,

If I decide not to pay bills on line, I don't need to log in to my bank account. Do, do I go back to paper billing and make payments to all my creditors by mailing checks.

And if I have to withdraw cash from my bank, do I go to the ATM, or drive to the bank and write a self check at the teller?

How about checking credit card balances? Maybe, the answer is have no credit cards?

Reserving air tickets seems to be impossible without a credit card. Thirty some years back, I used to go to the local office of the airlines and buy a paper ticket by paying cash. But these days, one goes to a website, like Expedia to compare fares by different airlines, for which you need not have an account on Expedia. But once you made a choice, then to go forward and book, you need a credit card.

Well we can have a credit card, without the need to go that account on line and checking balances, if you receive the paper bill, and pay off the balances each time, or even keep paying the minimum due and continue for ever.

You see, I am seriously interested in changing my lifestyle. So, please elaborate on how exactly your husband managed all these mundane needs.

Thank you for the idea, but a little more details, please.

Gratefully yours,

AMV from Missouri

Wendy's Two Cents: I would BET that the reason Jack didn't do technology is because he had Loyce! She did all the finances, etc, so he didn't have to worry about any of it. Just my guess...

sharing banking
by: Laura in Vermont

My mother-in-law died shortly after Christmas 2016. She wasn't organized with her papers but she put my husband's name on a couple of bank accounts so he could use the money to take care of her final expenses.

That was such a blessing! The kids didn't have to come up with money for the funeral, and it took time for establishing an executor legally. Meanwhile there were bills to be paid.

Last year we went through our accounts and put both names on all of them. The money passes outside of probate that way and the survivor has something to work with to pay the bills.

Also we put his name on my investment accounts so he will automatically inherit those should I die first.
I bought an organizer book for our papers too. We have them but this will help me organize and keep the important things in a safe place together.

My card file with passwords and Internet accounts info will be prominently mentioned!

Getting things in order
by: Janet

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend. There are always lessons to be learned from our experiences in life and getting things in order at this age is really important.

One of the things I have done beyond the normal stuff, is create a spreadsheet with all my passwords and copy it to a flash drive. I update it when necessary. I am preparing a notebook with my information, documents, instructions and will place the flash drive into it when done. That way my son (only child) and a few others will have easy access to all the necessary information when needed.

Flash drives are cheap and easy to update. I think I am also going to scan my documents to add to the flash drive too.

Sharing Those Private Things
by: Zenobia

As an adult child whose mother died without attending to those things, I can tell you the heartache and despair that not only came with the "not knowing" but the breach it caused between and already strained relationship between my one sibling and myself.

My brother assumed that mother had left all knowledge of these special things to me, the oldest, so as I lived out of state, and he lived in the same state as mother, he went out of his way to ransack her house, trying to beat me to whatever loot he could find, as well as a futile hunt to find her will.

By the time I arrived at her place, there were 13 rooms (Yes) to sort out, every piece of paper she ever wrote on and every lesson plan she had for her students , the accumulated mail, unfinished art projects, sewing projects, memories and double everything, bookcases crammed with volumes of long ago things like sets of encyclopedias, dishes and you name it, were left for me to sort.

I found myself weeping at the loss of my mother, my brother and all that I had ahead of me to do. I had a full time job in my own state and grandchildren I was raising and had left with a neighbor. We never found the will, but I remembered her wishes and my uncle helped me choose the casket, etc.

Right now, where I live and work (a 55+ community) I have seen the results of a planned exit and one that is just the opposite. A resident passed away three weeks ago and she had adult children in several states.

For reasons known only to her, she left one who lives here in MN with power of attorney. THAT one came in and angrily opened her mother's apartment up to the residents who pilfered and carried out her mom's precious items. The rest she threw in a dumpster.

The one in Indiana (where the resident was visiting when she died) was busy doing all the loving work of getting her mother buried with dignity. When she arrived here in Minnesota, none of her mother's items were available. The power of attorney daughter did not even attend the funeral, because she was too busy trying to beat her sister to the goods. They have had a long term area of anger.

My point is, that everyone does not have these extremes but I am thankful to read this article as a reminder to get my own papers, log in information, etc in order.

We never know the "when" but we can make it easier for those left behind to find the important stuff.

Death: I'm Dead, Now What?
by: D

Dear Wendy,

Thank you for turning my post into a beautiful video.

I had enough to go through just dealing with my husband's death. Then all of the paperwork and other stuff. Felt like torture. A lot of mental physical stress!

I believe this book leaves your personal, financial information very clear to your heirs. (They should keep information updated, as that life is constantly changing.)

Let's hope that more people do this for their loved ones!


Wendy: Thank YOU for posting on this topic!

by: Sandy

Wendy - first, I am sorry you lost a dear friend. Friends at this point in our lives are so precious and you must be very sad. I would also like to thank you for sharing the book title and making the video. It has motivated me to get moving on these things.


I'm Dead Now What? Update
by: D

Hi Wendy,

Just an update on my post. It took me all day, but I completed filling out the book 'I'm Dead Now What?". I also cleared out my files and made it very easy for my heirs to find everything. It was a lot of work, but a really good feeling.


Wendy: Good for you! I haven't done a thing -- but I am *thinking* about it! (yeah, that does nothing, Wendy, nothing.... )

I'm Dead Now What? An Afterthought
by: D

Hi Wendy

I just wanted to add one more important thing.

It is important to keep all of your records updated in this book and your important papers. I will be noting any changes as they happen and updating them in my book and documents in my secure locked fireproof files every few months.

Now that everything is in order, that task should be reasonably simple.

I hope to be on the planet for quite a while, but you never know.



Last Pass
by: Wendy

One thing for online passwords, try Lastpass, free version.

Every time you start a new account, LP prompts you to save it. You'll never forget!

When you go to a site, hit LOGIN, and BOOM! LP automatically inserts the login name, email, password, whatever is asked for. Click and you are in!

You can also open Lastpass and launch any website from within it, and it opens!

I've used it for at least 5 years... and no problems!

Love it! (AND IT"S FREE)

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Wendy Retired.