Eleven percent of people are including online passwords in their will, leading to an explosion in the number of cases of fraudsters targeting the estates of the deceased for online assets, such as bank accounts, according to a report in Law Society Gazette here.
The report says that people are increasingly putting security information, such as PIN numbers into their wills. However, as wills become public records when they go to probate, it is easy for fraudsters to raid accounts using the information in a will.
“Lawyers need to be alert to the risk of fraud when they are advising clients about wills and confidential information such as passwords or PIN numbers should never be included”, said Trevor Moss, Associate Director, Brunel Professional Risks. “When a client wants to give their solicitor information of this nature, it should be held in a sealed envelope under lock and key apart from the will. If a solicitor allows a client to put this type of confidential information in a will, it could easily cause grounds for a negligence claim if assets are subsequently stolen.”