There was a pretty interesting story in the news a while back. A widow in Canada picked up her late husband’s iPad and realized she didn’t have the password for his Apple ID. Her daughter called Apple, willing to provide proof of the man’s death, but was told over the phone, she’d need a court order to access the password and that was it.

The family contacted the news media and after a story about the problem aired, Apple called the family offering to take care of the issue. But this brings up a good point that I’ve mentioned before. Someone needs to have access to all the passwords for your accounts and your devices in case anything happens to you. If you were to die or become seriously ill, would your loved ones have access to the things they need.

Think about all your passwords: E-mail, social media, bank account, online shopping, mutual fund, and more.

And let’s not forget about your PC, tablet, NetFlix, router and more. Could your family continue to use your devices? Could they get online?

And what about accounts where precious family photos and videos are stored? Do you sell on eBay? If you were incapacitated, could someone contact your customers or halt auctions until you were able to manage them again?

Take some time now to get all those passwords together and designate someone to retrieve them if necessary. And don’t forget to update that list when you change passwords.

If you don’t have plans in place for your digital legacy, your family could lose thousands of dollars in apps, music, videos and eBooks that you paid good money for.

Personally, I know that I have over 1,000 eBooks and several hundred digital songs. For many younger people, the collection could be much larger. They no longer have stacks of records or DVDs of movies. All of their purchases are digital and could conceivably be lost forever if you don’t have a password.

Many accounts, like Facebook, have an option to set someone up to manage your legacy. Click here to learn how to set that up.