How to protect private online accounts after death

Service provides information needed to shut down online assets

HOUSTON – Email, mobile banking and social media are protected with a password, but what happens to all of it when you die?

Death and access -- it’s not really the kind of thing someone thinks about during the estate planning process, but there are some lawyers who say people should.

"It's something that's online, but you can't forget about it," probate attorney Michael Garvey said.

A recent survey found, on average, people have 19 passwords for stuff like email, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and 401(k)s, which are all out there in cyberspace, but what happens to all of those accounts if someone dies?

Enter Estate Pass. The country's first digital estate-planning service provides the required information needed to shut down hundreds of online assets.

Maria Cimadevilla lost her father in 2008 and discovered nearly a dozen accounts, from the dentist to his cellphone, open and active.

"I think it's easy to forget that we, as family members, we are grieving while we are trying to take care of business," Cimadevilla said. "It took me three years to get the dentist to stop sending my dad's appointments."

Estate Pass has bundle plans ranging in price from $50 for two accounts to $100 for eight accounts, then $15 for each additional account. They make all the calls and emails to give people peace of mind.