Dear Abby: I can’t pay bills since husband died, taking passwords with him

Widow wishes he had put his usernames and codes in writing.

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DEAR ABBY: My dear husband died suddenly last year. It’s been difficult, but I am blessed to have good friends and close family. The hardest part, however, has been the four-plus months it took to decipher his online accounts. He left me few passwords, and many of his contacts were uncooperative, some even cruel.

Why should it be impossible to pay someone else’s bill? I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a log or written account of passwords and usernames. It could have saved countless hours of stressful negotiations. — LESSON LEARNED IN MICHIGAN

DEAR LESSON LEARNED: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your husband. You are not the only spouse who has written about this very real problem. Sometimes the concept of a world without us in it can be difficult to comprehend, hence the hesitancy to share passwords. But death can come at any time, and, as in your husband’s case, with little — or no — warning.

Readers, it can spare your loved ones a world of unneeded stress to log those passwords and make sure your spouse, trustee or attorney can access them in case of emergency.

DEAR ABBY: My cousin “Scotty” invited my husband and me to see his new house. He made it clear, several times, that my sister and her husband, “Ian,” are not invited because his wife doesn’t like Ian. My sister and brother-in-law would have no problem if they never saw Scotty again, and I didn’t intend for them to accompany us on this visit. However, every time I speak to Scotty, he reiterates not to bring my brother-in-law along.

I admit, Ian is a difficult guy to get to know, but I have known him for 40 years, and he really has a heart of gold. I think Scotty is being disrespectful to me by repeating that Ian isn’t welcome. How can I resolve this in a way that won’t result in not communicating with Scotty ever again? — RELATIVE DRAMA IN FLORIDA

DEAR RELATIVE DRAMA: The next time Scotty starts on his rant about Ian, head him off by interrupting him and saying, “You have already told me that. You don’t need to repeat it.” Then change the subject.

DEAR ABBY: When my wife of nine months makes a dental or medical appointment, she gives her last name as her late husband’s last name. He died 10 years ago. Should I be disappointed with my bride since, before we were married, she said she would adopt my last name? — NEWLYWED IN FLORIDA

DEAR NEWLYWED: Why your bride would be hesitant to do this, I can’t guess, but because it bothers you, discuss it with her before it festers. Informing health care professionals about a name change is fairly simple. All one has to do is inform the receptionist that a new name should be entered into the computer.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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