Death and Passwords: Make a Plan Before You're Gone

When we die whatever is tucked away in our brains goes with us, including passwords for our online accounts. One woman learned that the hard way after her husband passed away and she tried to get the password from Apple for his Apple ID. The big lesson here: plan ahead so there's a way for trusted people to get at your important passwords when you're gone.

Apple doesn't make it easy to get passwords for deceased family membersApple doesn't make it easy to recover passwords for deceased family members

Following the death of her husband, Peggy Bush followed the process through Canada's government to redirect pension payments and other benefits to her name, but then hit a brick wall when she realized his Apple ID password was required to reinstall apps on her iPad.

She learned quickly that Apple doesn't simply hand over account passwords, but then had to deal with more frustration when she had to deal with conflicting instructions from the company on how to recover her husband's password. Ultimately, she was told a court order was needed, according to CBC News, but Apple has since said it's working with her to take care of the password issue without jumping into the legal system.

Her frustration is understandable, but it's also good to know Apple isn't going to just give up anyone's password. That means using social engineering tactics to coax a password out of an unsuspecting support team member simply isn't going to happen.

That frustration, however, could've been completely avoided had Mrs. Bush's husband thought to give her the account passwords she needed to handle his affairs—and in this case, her iPad video game purchases. Had he done that, there would've been a little less stress in what's been a horribly painful time for Mrs. Bush and the rest of his family.

The moral for the rest of us is that it's a pretty safe bet someone needs access to our passwords after we're gone, so make a plan you're comfortable with before it's too late. It'll be easier and less stressful on everyone you leave behind.