Online accounts can help your parent make their life easier. From depositing checks online to communicating with family members, these accounts can give them a better quality of life. But, if your parent is on the internet, there are some areas you should review with them to protect them. This may be a touchy area so tread lightly with them. Make sure they understand that giving you this information or creating this list of accounts isn't because you don't trust them. It's because you want to help them and be their backup if they can't do a task for themselves.
Tips To Help Your Parents With Online Accounts
Create a general list of usernames/passwords:
Creating a collection of general usernames, passwords, and websites that are frequently used by your parents will help you keep them organized. And, if something happens to them, you will have access to all this information easily and with little stress. This general list would include log in information for social media, news accounts, email accounts, etc.. Here is a free printable to start collecting this information:
If your parent has a large list of login information because they own a business, here is a free post I wrote about on Ways to Breakdown Long Log In Information Lists.
Create an Important Online Accounts list:
Now that you have the general list, it's time to work on the important online accounts list. Creating a separate important online account list will probably be the most valuable information you will ever need. This list will be the list your executor or person managing your parent's estate will use. Here are the account types that should be included.
- All bank accounts (debit cards) - this includes any account that has their regularly used money or savings.
- Bills to Pay accounts - this would include bills that are electronically paid through the bank or that your parent would log in to schedule a payment. If your parents do auto-donations to their church, you would include that in this section too.
- Investment accounts (social security, retirement, and IRAs) - this includes any accounts that contain investments for their retirement or general investment.
- Debt accounts (car loan, mortgage, a line of credit) - this includes any account they may use to schedule monthly payments online.
- Credit card accounts (revolving credit, credit card, personal and joint credit cards) - this includes accounts to track debt for each account is important also.
- Business accounts (corporation paperwork) - this includes any legal paperwork involving their small business.
- Hospital and doctor offices accounts - many doctor's offices offer online accounts so you can access your results.
- Insurance log in accounts - these accounts include life, short-term disability, long-term disability, home insurance, renter insurance, auto insurance, business liability insurance, worker's comp insurance, medical insurance, and dental insurance and any other insurance they may have.
Print out a copy and keep these lists in a secure place. A safety deposit box or fireproof safe works nicely. Remind your parents to update the file regularly. I recommend creating a file with a master password so no one can open the file when your parent isn't around. Make sure they give you a copy of the password lists every 6 months or so depending on how often they use the internet.
Make Your Parent Computer Safer:
Finally, make sure your parents have a good and reliable antivirus/antimalware software installed on their system. Set up the application so it automatically updates the virus list and any other update needed. By doing it this way, your parents will not need to update it on their own and hopefully, will keep their computer free from viruses.
Gathering all this information may be daunting for you and your parents but I assure you it will be so helpful in the long run. I had to create this list when my parents passed because back then, this type of list didn't exist. It took my brother and I several hours to figure it out. I hope this help you and your parents.
Now it's your turn. Do you have any further tips you want to share about online accounts? Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
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