Judith A. Mahjer • January 24, 2022

Four weeks ago my apartment building’s garage roof collapsed. Fortunately no one was hurt … I was the last one out, minutes before it collapsed.

Passwords were not on my mind then, but they are now. How would my family access my Passwords? I hadn’t provided a way to deal with my death, at least not with my digital assets. I asked Spike about how I could share my passwords with my family. Spike, of course, had a book on the subject of digital legacy and was happy to share … with the caveat that I would blog about the book, or at least talk about passwords.

Digital Planning Can Improve Your Life - NOW

Having a digital executor, leads to: • Being better organized • Improved thoughtful sharing • Provides a backup plan

The Book

“Take Control of Your Digital Legacy” written by Joe Kissell in 2017 is worthy of your time. The book is somewhere between 89 pages or 198 pages long depending on the device you read it on and the size font you prefer.

Just a quick glance at the Table of Contents starts you on your way to manage your Digital Legacy with chapters about:

What Your Digital Legacy Means

How to Inventory Your Digital Assets

Begin Drafting Your Digital Will

Inventory Online Accounts – Inventory Your Media – Inventory Software

Decide What to Preserve and Discard

Choose a Digital Executor

Decide on File Formats

Digitize Photos and Documents – Scan Photos and Documents Yourself

Back Up Digitized Files

Deal with Passwords

Use a Password Manager

Give Your Digital Executor Access to Your Passwords

Deal with Email – Review Your Social Media Accounts

Deal with Other Digital Data – Your Media – Your Software

Handle Digital Currency – Other Cloud Data – and more!

Think about how you would like to be remembered by your family, friends, descendants; what kind of person are/were you … perhaps courageous, funny, or a curmudgeon. You should think about what information about yourself is accessible to the right people. Kissell covers it all. (All advice I am sure Spike has told you.)

While the subject of this blog isn’t about Kissell’s book or about Spike’s advice, it is about Passwords and how to share them securely. For starters, if your computer’s data is encrypted no one will even be able to boot your Mac or PC let alone read your files without your password. So start planning now.

How to deal with your passwords.

1.) Have a Password manager program – a secure, convenient way to store logins, passwords, credit cards and other important information that you can access with a single password.

I use 1Password and my husband uses Dashlane. While they can be free, we recommend paying for a yearly subscription. Of course there are a variety of plans. If you plan to share there is a cost for that, but it may well be worth it. There are multiple password managers to choose from online just do your homework before selecting one.

With a Password manager program you can create strong passwords and never use the same password twice, thus making your digital assets secure. Be sure to set aside time to review and weed out what you no longer use at the end of the year. Also review the Password manager program updates, as they can and do change the rules.

2.) Have a list of your most important accounts and make sure that these accounts are accessible to your digital executor and explain exactly what you want done with them.

  • Access email account(s)
  • Bank/Credit Accounts
  • Insurance Policies
  • Mortgage Information
  • Social Media, i.e. Linkedin, Twitter, Spotify, etc.
  • Software Apps

3.) With 1Password and Dashlane there are multiple ways to share and have an emergency access key. With a basic subscription you can share your “Emergency Key” for access. NOTE: Do not simply export to a .cvs file as then passwords are not encrypted.

You simply designate your emergency contact along with a predetermined length of time and they are granted access to your passwords (or selected list of passwords.)

Another way to share is with a shared folders or vaults, you’ll need the Family/Families Plan subscription for this. Depending on the type of subscription you can choose how those vaults are used: allow viewing, editing, managing or you can remove someone from a Vault. These accounts can be Personal or Business for teams to work together, while apart.

Example of Password Program Costs (As of January 2022):

DASHLANE. Free version: Simple password management on your favorite device—always free.

  • Premium Plan: $6.49/mo or $58.88/yr + tax. Manage passwords on unlimited devices, plus get advanced security tools all bundled into one plan.
  • Family Plan $8.99/mo or $89.88 + tax. Six separate Premium accounts managed under one plan.

1PASSWORD. You can try for free up to 14 days.

  • Standard Version: $2.99/mo or $34.88/yr + tax allows for one user, unlimited passwords and 1GB of storage. You can use 1Password on as many computers and devices as you own, whether at home or at work. 1 GB document storage.
  • Families Plan: $4.99/mo or $58.88/yr + tax allows up to six users, unlimited passwords, secure notes, credit cards, etc. You manage what family members can see and do. AND you can recover accounts for locked out family members. 1 GB document storage.

With a Password program:

  • You can get alert then accounts are compromised – and then you can update passwords immediately.
  • Identity weak or duplicate passwords, and websites where you can turn on two-factor authentication
  • Create strong passwords with built-in password generator
  • Advanced Encryption & Total Privacy and most of all be remembered the way you wish to be remembered

Kissell’s “Take Control of Your Digital Legacy” advice with worth reading and well worth the price ($15). Need more info? Check out Kissell’s web site https://joeontech.net.