Don’t forget your digital assets when you make your Will
Posted on 25th May 2021 at 09:50
The Law Society has urged people to include ‘digital assets’ such as emails, photos, social media accounts, websites and domain names, or cryptocurrencies in their Wills.
The Law Society commissioned a survey which found that more than nine out of ten people who have a Will have not included their digital assets.
Their research showed that three quarters of the 1,000 people questioned didn’t know what happened to their online presence after they die.
You might have more digital assets than you think
Although almost all of us use online technology we probably don’t realise how many digital assets we have actually created. They can include storage in the cloud for photos you have taken on your smart phone, online bank accounts, or your googlemail or hotmail email account.
You might also have important digital assets stored on your home computer or laptop such as family photos and videos, documents or creative materials such as poetry or digital art. In contrast, material you have downloaded in iTunes, Spotify, or Netflix is only yours for temporary use, so you can’t leave it to anyone else.
Without making arrangements for your digital assets after you die your beneficiaries might be unable to access valuable material or money and could also lose precious memories.
Include a digital asset clause in your Will
While your Will isn’t the right place for the details of your online passwords, you should include information about where your executors can access the information. Securely storing a clear record of all your digital assets and how to access them is an important first step.
Your personal social media accounts could hold information that has emotional value to your friends and family, so it is helpful to leave written instructions about how you want this content to be dealt with. It’s a good idea to check the terms and conditions of each platform you use because, strictly speaking, giving someone else your username and password could be a breach of your agreement with them.
If you have social media accounts related to your business, you will also need to make sure that at least one other person is an administrator who can manage or close the accounts as appropriate.
If you own the domain name for your company’s website this can be a particular problem if you die shortly before fees are due. If you don’t make arrangements for your executors to deal with this quickly your website could disappear and potentially someone else could buy and use your website address.
Any digital assets that have a monetary value should be specified in your Will to make sure the intended beneficiaries receive them.
I recommend including a digital assets clause in your Will, so please get in touch if you would like to know more.
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