The Impact of Netflix’s New Password Sharing Policy on T&E Planning

by | Apr 11, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Have you seen Netflix’s new password sharing policy? In 2022, Netflix announced preliminary plans to tighten up policies surrounding password sharing. This new rollout will affect countless subscription holders and those they share accounts with.

Netflix has started the conversation on providers’ ability to limit password sharing, with more businesses expected to follow suit in the coming years. Although there are countless unanswered questions on how Netflix will police these new policies, you should take a proactive approach to the changing digital asset requirements.

Understanding the basics of Netflix’s password sharing policy, will shed some light on the depth of a custodian’s technology to prevent account holder impersonation, the sharing of credentials(even provided by the account holder)the impact on trust and estate planning, and how you can properly protect the digital assets of your clients is essential going into the next few years.

The Details of Netflix’s New Password Sharing Policy

Netflix has been talking about limiting password sharing abilities for some time now. However, their technology is finally ready to be put to the test, with password sharing limitations set to roll out this year. This impacts over 100 million families that share passwords, which is over 40% of the company’s current customers.

The goal of the new password sharing policies is to catch up on lost revenue from subscription holders sharing their accounts with countless other individuals. It’s unclear how stringent Netflix will be with these policies and when subscription holders can expect to see changes in their accounts. Nevertheless, there have been trial plans across the globe, testing different approaches, indicating account holders can expect changes soon.

The trial plans in Latin and South America tested an additional $2.99 supplemental plan that covers two additional individuals that don’t live with the account holder. This will make it more difficult for families with college students and those living in separate households to avoid paying multiple subscriptions. In addition, individuals using a family or friend’s subscription will need to set up their own plan or be added as a supplemental subscription for a fee.

Failure to meet Netflix’s new standards can result in account lockouts and additional charges. Account lockouts are then subject to Terms of Service Agreements(TOSA) for recovery, making it even more difficult to maintain compliance and access, especially if the account holder has passed away.

The Impact on T&E Planning

Many have begun to wonder if Netflix is paving the way for other providers to tighten password sharing policies further and enhance their monitoring of account holder activity. It’s not uncommon for the average individual to have hundreds of online accounts. If more providers proactively pursue account holders who share their credentials, it can have serious ramifications on T&E planning that depends on unenforced policies.

Netflix has shown that the power of the custodian is expanding, diving into where, who, and when their applications are being used. The fact that Netflix has the capability to lock paying customers out of their accounts demonstrates that password sharing is the wrong approach for trust and estate planning. Individuals with digital assets will need to seek alternative planning routes to ensure accounts are accessible without breaching TOSAs.

If Netflix and other content providers (i.e. email, social media, cloud based storage etc…) take a proactive measure to password sharing before death, think about the complications when loved ones are trying to gain access when the account holder isn’t around.  The account can be locked to everyone and put a halt on estate’s administration or trust’s settlement…placing a strain on your grieving loved ones.

This creates a rivet in trust and estate planning. Advisors now need to factor in additional planning for digital assets, such as a Dropbox folder of pictures or an airline account with flight credits, as providers create stricter policies surrounding password sharing.

How to Properly Protect Your Clients’ Digital Assets

As reliance on technology continues to grow and your clients accumulate more digital assets, they will be relying on you for guidance regarding planning and protection. Password sharing is not a viable option. It places your client, their estate and your firm at risk. In addition, using outdated and speculative methods to deal with digital assets opens the door to lost value, vanishing legacies and other unintended consequences that can be financially and emotionally costly.  

The solution to the changing digital asset environment doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, why not combat technology with technology? As Scott Williams of Williams, Allen Casey LPA stated “We don’t solve a technology problem with words, we solve a technology problem with technology.”

At Directive Communication Systems, we provide your practice with an easy-to-use and proven solution for digital property succession management. Your clients can choose how their digital assets are handled after their death and can provide guidance to where important files, folders and content are. DCS doesn’t need passwords to achieve a client’s goals. DCS doesn’t take short cut corners or shortcuts and complies to Fiduciary Access and Privacy laws as well as follows content provider TOSAs which explains why DCS has been so successful. Offering the DCS program to your clients alleviates a the emotions and time consuming efforts administration and asset location at the most vulnerable of times To learn more or set up a consultation, please visit or call 1.800.372.8121