What about my digital assets?

Cara Grant, Private Client Partner, discusses the inclusion of digital assets within a Will.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the Law Society, just over a quarter of those surveyed know what happens to their digital assets when they die.  Only 29% had an up to date Will, of whom 93% had not included any digital assets.

Making a Will is an important part of planning for the future to ensure that hard earned money and possessions are distributed in the way that you choose.  But what about online bank accounts, investments, emails, photos, videos and social media accounts?   It is important that these are included in a Will as well.

Not only can access to online financial resources cause problems for executors when applying for Probate, but being unable to access personal information, or close online social media accounts can cause distress for family at an already emotional time.

Particular digital considerations include:

  • Keeping an up to date record of logins and passwords for online accounts (and how and where the record should be kept);
  • How photographs, videos, emails, blogs, online books etc should be administered (and by whom?);
  • The possibility of online accounts expiring after a period of inactivity, rendering the content inaccessible;
  • Memorialisation of social network accounts (for example a memorial page or a message for friends and followers on Facebook);
  • The making and storage of hard copies of digital documents (and where they should be kept);
  • Retaining copies of documents and information on a personally owned device (such as a laptop or tablet) or external hard drive or USB;
  • Access to personal devices; and
  • Access to confidential or sensitive digital information about the running of a business.

Wills become public documents when a Grant of Probate is issued and so it is important to ensure that information relating to digital assets is recorded in the most appropriate way.

A suitably drafted Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) can also ensure that digital assets are administered as you would want them to be should you become mentally or physically incapacitated.

Gaby Hardwicke can assist with the preparation of Wills and LPAs to cover all of the important things that you might have thought of…and those that perhaps you haven’t.

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