In an increasingly digital age, there are more and more digital assets – online bank accounts, social networking profiles and online shopping and payment services. In the event of your death it is important to make sure these assets are accounted for, otherwise your loved ones could face problems or stress when attempting to access your estate.
It is rare that people bear much, if any, thought as to what will become of their Facebook or Twitter accounts after their death, even though family members and loved ones will often want to access them to remove posts, find out more about what happened or in some cases turn the account into a memorial page.
When making a will, not only should you leave instructions for your executor for what is to happen to your digital assets, but how to access them. For anyone looking to take care of their digital assets, we recommend leaving a document containing a list of online accounts, what you wish to happen to these accounts and relevant login details for each. With more people than ever choosing to bank online or go paperless, your online assets could be more important than you think – if your loved ones can’t access your online banking, there may be complications when it comes to accessing your money.
Another common pitfall is that the executor will have knowledge of the online accounts and the passwords required to gain entry to them, but the testator may not have specified if they can be accessed or not. For this reason, it is also important that you leave a list of which accounts you allow access to along with what you wish to happen to them.
Some simple steps to follow in order to properly account for your digital assets in your will are:
- Step 1: Identify and list all of your digital assets.
You should make a list comprising of all digital assets you are aware of. This may include:
Devices – computers, mobile phones, external hard drives and any other relevant devices
Information stored online – this may be on the cloud or through services like Dropbox
Online accounts, including social network accounts such as Facebook and Twitter, and also online shopping or payment accounts like Bitcoin, PayPal and eBay.
Domain names – if you have a registered domain name for a website or blog you own.
Intellectual Property – this may be an article, imagery or any other creation of your own which is online.
- Step 2: Decide what you want to happen to your digital assets
Compile a list of instructions for your executor detailing what you wish to happen to each of your digital assets – this could be that you want some assets to be saved, and others to be deleted or transferred
- Step 3: Store the information concerning your digital assets – record your instructions or passwords clearly and entrust them to your executor – this may be done with a hard copy which can be securely stored until your death or online through a password management system
- Step 4: Make it official – have one of our probate solicitor team draft your will for you.
To speak to one of our legal experts or for more information about writing a will, contact us today or call us on 0191 232 3048.