What happens to my digital assets when I die?

Donna Matthews Harrison Drury

Anything that a person owns when they die becomes part of their estate, this includes digital assets.

Therefore, your personal representatives need to be aware of what digital assets you have and how to access them.

A digital asset is anything in digital form that can create value.

Examples include emails, digital photographs and videos, cryptocurrency, loyalty points, digital music tracks and online accounts such as Facebook or Amazon.

It is important to ascertain what digital assets you have during your lifetime and make a list of logins and passwords that is stored securely.

When making a will, you can include instructions on how to access your digital assets after your death – they can be left in your will or gifted like any other asset.

Social media

Many social media platforms allow your account to be memorialised.

When someone passes away, Facebook friends and family can request that the account be memorialised and the word ‘remembering’ appears on the profile.

However, you may want the account to be removed on your death. It is important therefore to update your social media accounts.

Emails

You need to decide what should happen to your e-mails on your death and if there is any sensitive/confidential information that your personal representatives will have access to.

It is a good idea to keep on top of your emails, especially business emails, and arrange for passwords to be kept securely if you wish for your personal representatives to have access to these on your death.

Cryptocurrency

You should inform your personal representatives if you have cryptocurrency and leave the details with your will or in a secure place.

You need to ensure that you keep a record of the public and private keys held in digital wallets so that they can be easily accessed on your death.

Loyalty cards

Loyalty cards, such as the Boots Advantage Card or Tesco Clubcard, allow you to collect points through a loyalty scheme.

The terms and conditions of some loyalty cards enable you to pass on the points to your nominated beneficiaries after death, others may just cancel the account and points are lost. It is worth looking into this and contacting the provider.

Summary

As the growth of digital assets continues at such a fast pace, the legal issues surrounding their ownership and disposition after death is more relevant than ever.

Effective estate planning incorporating the digital assets is important to ensure that these assets are dealt with smoothly and in accordance with the correct intentions.

Enjoyed this? Read more from Donna Matthews, Harrison Drury

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