Allow access to digital accounts if you become incapacitated or die

I am wondering if there are any recommendations for a way to allow a family member or someone else the ability to get into your accounts (financial, banks, email etc.) if you become incapacitated or die. My mother had a word document where she put all her passwords and account information. As the personal representative after she died, this was very helpful but not very secure since she had the document on her computer. I use 1password but none of my other family members use it. This may have been discussed in MPU podcast but I may have missed it since I haven’t listed to all of the earlier episodes. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Yep. We’ve talked about it I think on our emergency preparedness episode:

The short version is documentation is key. I like the 1Password emergency kit kept in a safe and secure place along with contact Information for a tech savvy friend who can help your loved ones sort through the info.

I keep my 1Password emergency kit updated and in my safe along with my estate planning docs.

If you are a subscriber to 1passwoed they also have a feature online to help you generate information for you emergency kit.


Our son who lives nearby (who is also in line for Power of Attorney) has a printed document in his safe deposit box with access instructions for all online accounts. This really amounts to him having the login passwords of our computers and of 1Password. I will point out that he is not a Mac (or 1Password) user but will be able to access 1Password through our computers.

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I was just researching this and listening to MPU episode 269 (Katie linked above), and found that part of the discussion at 1 hour and 10 minutes in.

The Mike Vardy / Productivityist blog post that Katie linked to is v3, there are two earlier versions, which also have helpful info:

1password themselves have this feature now:

I think the key is that if your family is not tech-savvy, you need to give them a reference to someone who can help - a techie friend, or possibly even a local computer-consulant person that could be paid to help get the family thru this.

One challenge with the printed out versions of account info, is with 1password, you can update passwords at any time. The printed paper could easily be out of date.

This is timely for me, as I am about to move to 1password for families, and get my wife fully on-board. But as of today, I do not have this in place, and it would be a major problem for her. Thanks for the inspiration to think and prepare!!


The best method is going to be printing your emergency kit and storing it your safe. I would even go one step further and print out another emergency kit and store that off-site like a safety deposit box for the off chance of a fire or a natural disaster happens. It would suck if your home burned down with all your electronics and emergency kit in it.

Thanks @katiefloyd. The 1password emergency kit looks very handy and I have added episode #269 to Overcast. I don’t currently have a safe. I will take a look at Amazon and see about getting one.

One challenge with the printed out versions of account info, is with 1password, you can update passwords at any time. The printed paper could easily be out of date.
The only passwords that need to be on the printed paper is the computer login password and the 1Password password. If they are unique and not compromised they only need to be changed infrequently, and the printed paper updated at that time.

Everything is in 1Password. Emergency kit is in safe at home. Son knows it’s there. Wife and I have full access to each other’s vaults. We use the same passwords for our Macs. Makes life simple.

Our estate lawyer had us draft special instructions into our trust so that the trustee has permission to access everything. There is a document that says where the details are located and it’s stored in his office, an off site secure safe and a safe in another building. All of the data is in 1Password on my machine and the documents give access to both my machine and my 1Password file. There are also people referenced who can help with the tech in case the assigned trustee cannot for some reason.

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I have a copy of my 1password database on a usb disk in a safe at the bank. A set of instructions and the 1password emergency kit is kept in the safe of our estate lawyer. I udate the USB file in the bank safe once every 6 months (summertime/wintertime changeover)

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