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October 16, 2021

Dealing with death in the digital age

If you’re having a bit or trouble remembering all those pesky usernames and passwords, think what it’s going to be like after you die.

With an increasing portion of our personal lives locked away online in password-restricted accounts, pulling together an estate following a death can cause major headaches.

Enter Legacy Locker, an online service that allows you to securely store usernames, passwords and other access information for all your digital assets — from Facebook and MySpace to PayPal — and transfer that information to beneficiaries in the event of your  death.
What’s wrong with simply writing down all your codes and instructions, and putting that information in a safe or the hands of a family lawyer? Nothing, just make sure someone can easily gain access to it when needed. Legacy Locker, for instance, is much easier to update and can also distribute different access codes to different people.

The service only unlocks if two people whom you've chosen confirm your death, and even then only if one of them supplies a death certificate.

Still worried about security? One option might be to store half of your digital history information here and entrust the other half to family members. That way, each side's information would be useless without the other's.

Or maybe you just want to use it for less delicate things like photo albums.

If you’re interested, the service can be used on a very limited basis for free, or you can purchase a membership for $30 a year.

Tell us: Would you entrust this type of information to third party providers? 

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...