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Why access to an iPhone should be part of estate planning

When was the last time that you wrote a message by hand on paper instead of sending a text? Where are your photos stored? Do you use two-factor authentication on accounts? Whether you have an iPhone or use android technology, your phone is basically a digital assistant. If your loved ones cannot get into it after something happens to you, they may lose access to online accounts and digital mementos.

A recent New York Times opinion piece addressed how much a phone matters. After the author lost her mother in a car accident, she and her sisters were unable to find or guess their mother’s iPhone password. This meant that even though they had found usernames and passwords for online accounts, they could not complete the two-factor authentication. The codes were being texted to her phone, which they could not access. Ultimately, taking out the SIM card allowed them to retrieve some data and access online accounts, but still not the phone’s memory.

These tips can ensure loved ones are not left staring at your password screen with the fear that too many failures and Apple might delete everything.

Create and keep a password document updated

A large portion of your life is probably housed in the digital cloud, so put together a list of usernames and passwords for each account. Since more accounts prompt you to change passwords frequently, update this document and store it in a safe, secure space.

It is also a good idea to make sure your attorney and a trusted personal representative know how to find this information.

Specific instructions regarding digital assets

Certain online properties have various rules regarding who can and cannot access your account to make changes or deactivate your profile. Find out what they are by referencing our January blog that talked about LinkedIn and Facebook.

When it comes to estate planning, working with an experienced attorney is the best way to make sure every aspect of your digital life has been addressed and appropriate instructions exist as a road map for loved ones after you are gone. From your social accounts to your online banking accounts, take account of the cloud that stores more of our valued information all the time.

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