When planning their estate most people only consider their physical, tangible assets but in this increasingly digital age it is now advisable to also make allowance for your digital assets once you have passed.
What are digital assets?
There are 3 types of digital asset:
1. Financial: including online banking, Paypal accounts and online shopping accounts
2. Social: including social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles plus any email accounts
3. Accounts of personal significance: including photographs, downloaded films, YouTube accounts, computer games and avatars and even Itunes which may have a vast library of music on it – valued at hundreds of thousands of pounds, where you own the licence only, not the music itself.
How can I protect my digital assets?
There are several things you can do to protect your digital assets for example:
• You could create a Personal Asset log which saves time and money in keeping others informed of your digital assets, however your executors need to know where to find this information and it cannot contain any passwords as this contravenes the Computer Misuse Act 1990.
• You could add a Memorandum of Wishes with you Will which can communicate whether you would want your family to deactivate or memorialise social media accounts.
• Online bank accounts can be left with clear instructions for your executors to enable them to close them down quickly and claim the money on behalf of your family.
What else should I know?
Just leaving passwords to your loved ones does not pass the ownership of the account and some accounts will continue to form part of the deceased’s estate on death whereas some will lapse. This can be established from the service provider.
If you want to find out more about digital assets and building these into your estate planning please contact me today for a Will review or new Will appointment.