Emergency Access to Organization

I am about to end my 30+ hours of research to replace Lastpass and I am about to pick BW over 1P. But one last question (I hope) on this:

I am going to create an organization for the family (inviting my 3 kids ages 16-22).

Side question 1: What if I want to add my parents which now makes 7 users? How do you exceed the 6-person cap?

My wife and I share everything so I will create a collection for just the two of us called Husband/Wife. I will create sub-collections under that for Travel, Finance, Shopping, etc. We won’t need to keep anything in our personal vaults.

I will have another collection to share items with our entire family (maybe some other shopping sites, etc). And maybe collections just to share with me, my wife, and 22-year old.

I want to set up emergency access for the 22-year-old in case something happens to both me and my wife at the same time. The help file says that emergency access is given to my vault. But will my son have access to EVERYTHING in the organization too?


Hey @gadgetfreak, currently families is capped at 6. You could optionally manage a free 2 person org for them, or you can look at a teams plan and add as many seats as you like.

Regarding emergency access, more specifics here: https://bitwarden.com/help/emergency-access/#user-access

Trusted emergency contacts can be granted one of the following user access levels:

  • View: When an emergency access request is granted, this user is granted view/read access to all items in your individual vault, including passwords of login items.

You may revoke access to a trusted emergency contact with view access at any time.

  • Takeover: When an emergency access request is granted, this user can create a master password for permanent read/write access to your vault (this will replace your previous master password). Takeover disables any two-step login methods enabled for the account.

If the grantor is a member of an organization, the grantor will be automatically removed from any organization(s) for which they are not an owner on takeover. Owners will not be removed from or lose permissions to their organization(s), however the master password requirements policy will be enforced on takeover if enabled. Policies that are not usually enforced on owners will not be enforced on takeover.

Thank you SO much for replying. Some follow-up questions, if you don’t mind:

  1. So, if I want to share common items with all 7 members of the family, I need to switch EVERYONE to a Teams plan? That means I go from $40/year for 6 users to $252/year for 7 users? There are no other options?

  2. I had also read that help file on Emergency Access, and, maybe it is a just a brain freeze, but I can’t wrap my head around it. In the scenario I mentioned, I made my wife an owner of the Organization and created a Collection (well, actually a bunch of nested Collections) to which just the two of us have access. I want to grant my 22-year-old son Emergency Access in the event something happens to both my wife and me at the same time. Is there any way to do this?

It seems I cannot make my son just a viewer because it specifically says that he only has access to the INDIVIDUAL vault. Does that mean I “have” to give him takeover access? If I do, will he now become an owner of the Organization as well as his parents and will need to set a new master password? And the 2-step MFA will be disabled (per the last paragraph)?:

" Owners will not be removed from or lose permissions to their organization(s), however the master password requirements policy will be enforced on takeover if enabled. Policies that are not usually enforced on owners will not be enforced on takeover."

Sorry if I am a little slow on the uptake with this. I just want to make sure I get it right. And that this is the best way to accomplish what I want. Thanks again for all the help.

I want to “bump” this because I really need to make a decision on BW vs. 1P. IF BW allows my son to take over everything in the Organization after 24 hours of my wife’s and my “incapacitation”, I think that will work for me. If the items in the Organization are never accessible to him, then I would need to record my password and TOTP code somewhere secure (like a safe) and give instructions to access it in the event of an emergency. But that is no different than how 1P handles it.

And, since 1P allows me to add additional family members for just $1/month, I may have to go there.

But, ideally, BW should do what I want. Can anyone confirm? Thanks.

Hey @gadgetfreak for additional info beyond what I provided above and linked to, please contact the official support team at https://bitwarden.com/contact/. Regarding addiing additional seats, currently Bitwarden does not offer this, but I’ve passed your feedback along to the team.

Thank you for the response. I actually opened up a Support Ticket with them right after I posted here and heard back in around 12 hours - and on a Sunday no less. Here was their response:

"Welcome to Bitwarden and thank you very much for supporting us! :blush:

1. You can consider using the Teams or Enterprise plans (https://bitwarden.com/help/about-bitwarden-plans/#business-plans), if you’d like to host more than 6 people in total in the same organization; The Families subscription is capped at 6 in total.

2. Because your accounts are set as Owner-types within the organization, they’d be able to take over the organization as well, as outlined here (https://bitwarden.com/help/emergency-access/#user-access), once they take over your accounts, assuming they are set as Takeover-type emergency contacts.

I hope this clarifies everything. Please feel free to reply to this message if you have any further questions."

So 1P clearly excels when it comes to the additional family members. But BW works very similarly to LP in regards to emergency access. I did, however, reply back to tell them thank you for the response but the Help file they referenced doesn’t specifically mention Organization Collections.

So I have made my decision. Here is a chart that I created which may be useful to others:

1Password Bitwarden Notes
Apps/Extension More Polished Usable 1P is better but either is fine
Emergency Access Paper Only Online Deciding Factor???
Moving Personal –> Org Drag and Drop in App 1-Button in App or Ext 1P is better but either is fine
Moving Org->Personal Drag and Drop in App Must clone and delete 1P is better but either is fine
Tags Yes No 1P is better but either is fine
Adding New Items BEFORE login After login Deciding Factor???
Site Matching Notfication In field (like LP) Button on top bar BW claims their way doesn’t interfere with the field
Sharing Location Easily Tell Can only tell when filtered 1P is better but either is fine
Searching Partial (all fields) Partial for name/full words (all other fields) BW can use wildcards
Deauthorize Sessions 1 at a time Only all at once 1P is better but either is fine
MFA within the site Notifies that it is available Doesn’t notify Both can handle but 1P notifies

Although it seems that 1P wins in more categories, I am going to go with BW for the two issues that, to me, are deciding factors.