To make things easier to process, all sorts of important and previously time-consuming tasks are now being put online, including the process of declaring an individual officially dead. That raises the question of whether or not computer hackers can infiltrate the system to have someone declared dead. As it turns out, it is easy for them to do.
Last year in Australia, a hospital’s computer system was hacked and 200 living patients were declared dead. That got the attention of computer security experts, as the process of officially declaring a person deceased has been put increasingly online and making it a vulnerable point.
One such expert recently gave a presentation at a convention of hackers in Las Vegas titled “I Will Kill You.”
His research revealed that in most places having someone declared dead requires a report from a doctor and a funeral director. Many doctors have not registered with the appropriate agencies, so all that a hacker needs to do is co-opt the doctor’s identity and register in his or her name.
It is even easier for the hacker to pretend to be a funeral director.
ABC News reported this story in a recent story titled “Def Con: Hackers can virtually kill people, manipulate records, Australian security expert says.”
This raises some interesting problems for estates.
Once a person is declared dead, that can trigger life insurance payouts, retirement plan handoffs, bank account transfers and more. These are often important pieces of an estate plan.
If a hacker has illegally had a person declared dead and managed to have important accounts paid out to him or herself, then the delicate balance of an estate plan can crumble.
Of course, this is not currently a widespread, real world problem.
On the other hand, this is something to keep in mind if you stop receiving account statements. You might want to check and make sure you have not been declared legally dead by a hacker.
Reference: ABC News (August 8, 2015) “Def Con: Hackers can virtually kill people, manipulate records, Australian security expert says.”
“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”
Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.
The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!
I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.
Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.