Have you ever thought about what will happen to your photographs on Facebook, your digital music and book library and your online film collection, not to mention your online bank accounts when you die?
Nowadays we are all increasingly living our lives online, so protecting your digital legacy is something that you must consider when you are making or updating your Will.
Failure to do so could mean your loved-ones not only losing access to things of sentimental value like photographs, but also those of financial value too. In addition, an up-to-date Will can help avoid any potential confusion and possible conflict for your loved ones.
Digital assets also include investments you have made such as stocks and shares on online platforms, virtual currency like Bitcoin along with anything that has built up points such as frequent flyer schemes and unspent balances on shopping sites.
Laura Karon, who works in the Wills and Probate team at Phillips Solicitors incorporating Brain Chase Coles recommends that you leave clear instructions about what should happen to your digital assets after your death.
She said: “You want to ensure that your loved ones, and the executors of your Will, know not only of the existence of all of these accounts, your collections and assets, but also have the legal authority to access them.”
“In fact, just allowing your accounts to be left open and dormant is also very unsafe as identity fraudsters could hack into them and hijack your personal details.”
Here are some points to think of when it comes to digital assets:
Leave a list somewhere safe of all your digital assets, from social media accounts, online shopping accounts and bank accounts.
Keep an up-to-date list of your usernames and passwords, written out and kept ideally with the latest copy of your Will.
Be clear about what you would like to happen to your digital assets after your death. For instance, Facebook allows its members’ profiles to be memorialised when they die. Do you want this to happen to your account?
Check your online providers’ policies so you know what their terms and conditions are when you die. This means you can take steps to preserve content for your loved ones and remember to pass the information on to the executors of your Will.
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During these difficult times our Town Gate office in Basingstoke is temporarily closed to visitors unless by prior appointment and when meeting in person is essential. However, thanks to our lawyers being able to work remotely, Phillips and Haymarket Family Mediation remain fully open for business and can discuss mediation or any other legal matters by telephone and video conference.
This article is current at the date of publication set out above and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.