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Managing Passwords: My Recent Experience with LastPass

I have a confession to make. Despite advocating password management applications like LastPass and SecureSafe, I’ve never been a bona fide user myself. At the encouragement of my virtual assistant, I decided to take the plunge and set up LastPass.

Wow. I’ve been missing out. In just a few short weeks, I’ve now come to realize that LastPass is the ultimate digital afterlife service.

First, allow me to re-iterate that my long-time belief is that a service must provide actual value during life and include a feature for digital inheritance. Countless estates attorneys have trouble getting their clients to secure their most valuable tangible assets, much less securing their digital ones. Thus the premise of users inputting data into a digital afterlife service, much less paying a fee for it, is too high of a bar for most to meet. The premise of doing something now for potential reward later, that you won’t get the experience first hand, runs contradictory to the desires of instant-gratification.

LastPass clears the bar for me. I started using the service so that I could securely share important passwords with my assistant. In many cases, she doesn’t even have to type in or know the password, as I can control which of my passwords she can use via LastPass sharing. This is value enough for me.

Notwithstanding the business convenience, the Chrome add-on allows LastPass to securely collect my passwords, asking me at the moment whether to store a password or not. This feature reduces a significant amount of friction in terms of remembering passwords and in terms of spending significant time setting up the service.

Let’s not forget the ability to add notes manually for each password you store. What better place to add your wishes or other instructions for your heirs?

Of course, LastPass also has an inheritance feature called Emergency Access which allows you to specify a user who can request access to your entire account in the event of death or other incapacities. Much like SecureSafe, the feature includes a “dead man’s switch” which allows you to specify a waiting period, during which time you will be alerted and can cancel the access of a trusted person, should they request emergency access at an inappropriate time.

I’m also encouraged by the new announcement of LastPass Families, which will allow you to manage your entire family’s digital life. This product will make sharing important banking and healthcare access easier within a family so that you’re prepared for anything that may happen.

Looking back at Your Digital Afterlife, which is about to turn eight in November, the second-half of the book could now more appropriately be summed up in one sentence. “Install LastPass in your web browser, give emergency access to your loved ones, and save the passwords that are important to you.”

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