Why you may want to include password retrieval instructions in your will
22, January 22, 2016 - Filed in: General Interest
The following is a reprint of an article by Abhimanyu Ghoshal that appears in the TNW News web site.
CBC reports that when 72-year old widow Peggy Bush wanted to retrieve her late husband’s Apple ID password to play card games on her iPad, she was told that she’d need to produce a court order to have the company share it with her.
Apple reps reportedly weren’t satisfied with the will, death certificate and iPad serial number that Bush and her daughter provided.
It might please some people to learn that Apple takes your account security seriously. Scammers are known to use social engineering tactics to tease out passwords and a strict policy may indeed help protect your privacy.
Last week, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had his phone and email accounts hacked; it’s believed that the attacker may have researched Clapper’s life online to spoof service providers so they’d divulge his passwords.
Google and Facebook have mechanisms in place to grant your loved ones access to your accounts in case you die, but there are thousands of other services that don’t.
Plus, you might also use crucial apps that your family may not be aware of but could need access to, such as phone and internet services tied to your credit card.
Without a comprehensive overview of the accounts you’ve registered, family members may be at risk of being locked out of your digital assets or being charged for services they don’t use.
Naturally, legislation that mandates that service providers allow you to access your late relatives’ accounts might be helpful in this regard.
But until then, you’re probably better off leaving instructions in your will about how to retrieve your passwords, says Daniel Nelson, a Toronto estate lawyer who specializes in digital assets.
That seems like a good idea because it not only gives you a chance to make it easy for your family to access your accounts, but also to inform them about what services your credit card and other payment channels are tied to.
It may not be the most cheeriest thing to think about, but it certainly is becoming more important as we rely more and more on connected services to manage our lives.