Wall Street Journal: Don't die before leaving your heirs access to a list of your online user names and passwords, your military discharge papers and proof of any copyrights, trademarks and patents that you own.

As we explained in our Weekend Investor article “The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die,” leaving behind a will and an estate plan—and any other end-of-life instructions—isn't enough. You also have to make your heirs aware of them and leave the documents where they can find them.

Letting a trusted family member know that you keep a list of user names and passwords with an attorney or in a safe-deposit box is important not just so they have access to bank accounts or so they can keep up with online payments, as we stated, but also in order to preclude online identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that nine million Americans are victims of identity theft every year.