Morbid Topic: How to document financial/digital presence for spouse in case of my passing

In our household I tend to take care of the finances, utilities, subscriptions etc.

With the recent news that GSuite Legacy is ending and if I don’t upgrade our email accounts will be suspended, I was thinking if I was to pass away, my wife’s email would stop working and she would have no clue about any of our online accounts.

I wanted to know how and where people document important information to share with their spouse. I assume (or would like to think) that my wife would be grief stricken enough with my passing without the added burden of having to work out what online accounts/subscriptions we have.

The sort of things I would like to document are

  • Bank accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Online subscription (1Password, Drafts, etc)
  • Utilities - including account numbers
  • Web/email hosting
  • Home network setup
  • Direct debits

I did setup 1Password for families but cant get her to use it regularly enough to remember her password.

Just interested how other people handle this situation


I record all the stuff in 1Password, and I kept nudging 1Password use to my family members. Eventually my spouse started using and then once used, found it useful for various of her own things (esp when out and about using 1Phone for stuff needing login).

In addition, at intervals (couple of times a year at most) I print the 1Password stuff to paper and store it securely with other important papers.

Just because I can most easily organise and keep track of all this information in 1Password doesn’t necessarily mean I must impose use of the tool onto others.

I also maintain a document, started years ago, which explains in understandable terms where stuff is, why it’s important, how to handle, etc. I reference stuff in 1Password but don’t expose the sensitive info kept in 1Password. [Since this a forum for techies, I’ll mention that this document started in Word and now in Scrivener compiled to a LaTeX output with TOC, good format, Index, etc… 'cause I can]. Printed to paper at intervals but a current version encrypted PDF kept in a shared location on the home NAS. I’ve put a Desktop icon pointing to that file on my spouse’s Mac.

Simple enough (yet scratches my itch to take advantage of proper tools).


I think the combination of 1Password with its passwords and secure notes, and an external paper document is a good practice. I add to that, depositing a copy of essential information with my estate attorney and my authorized representative.

For simplicity the 3-2-1 principle for backups can also apply here. Make three copies of the digital estate instructions, stored in two locations, and one of them offsite. One of the two “locations” should also be paper, both because the digital copy might become unaccessible and because expecting an heir to understand in a crises how you’ve arranged everything on your devices is too much to ask.

FWIW, this is not a morbid topic – it is common sense and kindness to make preparations that ease the possible turmoil for your loved ones after your own unavoidable death.


I do something similar and 1PW is an important component.

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My wife and my possible future estate executor have access to paper instructions that will get them into the accounts that will get them into everything else. We also have shared access to various accounts, including a password manager vault. I just need to review it all every several years or if something significant changes.

1Password family set up, all information there

1Password, all important notes related to that account and its impact are documented, with a link to Secure Notes within 1Password. Also our Trust/Estate has this information.

All subscriptions are tied to one credit card. I have suggested my spouse not to cancel them until its really understood about what the charges are and if they are no more needed. Better off to leave them alone and or make changes to transfer the ownership. Mostly I keep telling the charges every time they come on so that it’s understood over a period of time what are recurring and important ones.

I used Nolo’s book “Get It Together” to prepare this kind of information. In my case, it’s not enough to just tell people that 1Password has all the passwords. For example, I needed to explain which services I use and how those bills are paid. The book is extremely comprehensive and has strategies for going through the big task of collecting all of the information.

In my case, it’s all written down, as I can’t rely on digital literacy. Of course, in some cases, the instructions tell people that the passwords are stored in 1Password, and I have a few names listed of people who are familiar with that app (just in case).

I think it’s also useful not just in terms of legacy but incapacity. Because I live by myself, someone needs to know how to feed my cats, pay my bills, clear the snow, etc., if I’m hospitalized.

I’m not quite finished with all of the details, but it fills a binder.

I’m also using to gather documents for my parents. In this case it doesn’t have to be as comprehensive, since I already know or take care of most things, but it still serves as a good guide of what to collect.


Thank you all, glad to see I am not the only one thinking of this. From what you have said I think a mixture of paper and 1Password notes is the way forward.

One other thing to make sure you review whenever you review your end-of-life digital instructions is to check your beneficiary designations in all accounts – financial accounts, IRA/SEP accounts, insurance, etc. If these are not exactly what you want, then there could be a headache in store for your survivors.

And … get a will. Your intentions are important. Put them in writing. You do not want a jurisdiction to leave these matters up to strangers.


In using 1Password make sure that you both can get to everything. Don’t save stuff in private vaults if you don’t have the password. That could block access to info and accounts.

A lot of communication goes to my email address. She would have to keep using my account during the transition. We have the advantage of both having IT backgrounds.

1Password + will + letter of wishes and secure access instructions. Relevant details are registered with estate attorney and representative and reviewed/updated when needed.

If I have specific instructions for any of my digital legacy, it is stored in the notes section in 1Password. It contains a short description as to why I have the account, what it does/contains and post mortem instructions. Most default to “Request copy of data if needed and close account.”

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I cannot agree with this more. The time after someone dies, especially if it’s unexpected, is the absolutely worst time to have to deal with the mess that not having a will creates. It’s truly awful.

Also, regularly (at least annually) ensure that those who need access, have it and know how to use it. Document the heck out of it, and review the documentation as a part of the overall review process. Make sure those who will survive you understand the documentation, especially if they’re not as tech savvy as you.


To those who give sensitive documents, whether paper or digital, to others (family members, lawyers, etc), you need to make sure they are storing these securely. Just because someone is lawyer, it doesn’t mean that they use security methods that would be acceptable to you. Not every lawyer has the skill-set of ex-lawyer, MacSparky. Don’t assume; ask them how they will maintain your sensitive documents.


I have a shared vault with my spouse. All such important Notes and passwords are recorded in this shared vault. In this way spouse has full access to them when I’m not around. So I know it’s secure and it’s safe and it’s handy on fingertips. Also in my will with my attorney in a secure location.

Every subscription is made known to my spouse so that it’s not new and my spouse already knows what they are about and it’s importance.


I have been thinking about this a lot as well since being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, and I am tremendously happy that Apple has introduced the Legacy feature in the latest iOS… I have a book called Digital Legacy Plan (easy enough… that has forms “attached” via their website… I just filled those out, attached them to my will (along with the appropriate legalese) and went over them with my wife… and I know the AARP has a guide as well…


Sorry to hear this. But you have done the right thing in the right time to take care of your family so that they are not burdened with. Kudos to you :clap:

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Really sorry to hear that

So sorry to hear that. Clicked the heart for support rather than “like”. You are doing the right thing!

+1 for Apple Legacy feature. Activated it as soon as it came out.

Wishing you strength and all the best with your treatment.

This topic is timely.

I recently gave (printed my 1password emergency kit and wrote my master password on it) to my wife. Thankfully, I also ran a test to see how it would work for her when I am not around.

Unfortunately, since I have 2FA set up on my 1password account, my wife couldn’t get in. There is no easy way to give 2fa codes since they keep changing.

Any suggestions? Should I just disable 2FA?

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