My favorite video game is Pac Man. Not Ms. Pac Man, just plain old regular yellow paccy and the wakka-wakka squids gobbling pulsing white dots. I know this dates me. I also remember when there was no such things as passwords to everything, they were more a construct for magic and spies.
You need a password for your utility bill, your email, your work email, your bank account, your FaceBook page, your phone, your everything screen life. They are secret, they can be used to warp your identity, to uncover your hidden shopping obsession, to track who you talk to and what about. They are not to be shared.
Except when you die.
I received a document from a colleague titled “Love Letter to My Family,” that was a fill-in form citing instructions on who to call, (advisor, CPA, lawyer, etc.) what accounts are held, what life insurance is owned, where important documents like statements and policies for cars, houses, bank accounts can be found. Also listed was a section for passwords.
Nobody ever likes to fill these out, they are so morbid. But what happens if? Who is your survivor supposed to call? If you are the one in charge of the family finances, does your partner, or if there is no partner your sister, brother, friend, uncle, grown kid, whoever it is that you can trust, know what to do?
Passwords change, or they should, at least once a year. Most passwords are probably not too important, but for the accounts that are automatically billed with no paper statements, or accounts that you have elected to go e-copy on, whoever survives you will have a hard time turning them off or even finding them.
Generally, your other information like policy numbers, will not have changed and will be invaluable to the person wrapping up your affairs. Having an uncomfortable talk about what happens when you die will actually make you feel more comfortable. It will also seem very grown up. But you can still play PacMan online, right here.