What Happens To Your Digital Assets When You Die?
The Law Society has published research recently revealing that three quarters of people do not know what happens to their online presence after they die, leading to calls for a digital assets general clause to be included in Wills just like a personal possessions clause; a separate letter would then placed with the Will which can specifically gift photos or provide details to access particular accounts (such as PayPal) which may hold funds.
The commissioned survey revealed found 93% of those surveyed that have a will, have not included any digital assets in it. Additionally, just a quarter of the 1,000 respondents knew what will happen to their digital assets after they die. In an increasingly digital world, it is very important to understand what happens to your digital assets – emails, photos and social media accounts among other assets will need to be considered.
Law Society president David Greene said: ‘Technology is a huge part of modern life and our digital assets include everything from photos stored online to online banking and email accounts.’
‘Photos, social media accounts and emails from loved ones are often just as treasured as physical possessions – and yet very few people understand what happens to their digital assets or why it is important to include them in their will.’
Some social media platforms, allow a user to nominate a fellow user as their legacy contact. Facebook allows a user to choose someone to look after their account after they pass away. They’ll be able to manage tribute posts on your profile, which includes deciding who can post and who can see posts, deleting posts and removing tags; request the removal of the account, respond to new friend requests and update the profile picture and cover photo.
Email accounts are an important factor in a persons digital assets as this would allow a user to gain access to any websites the user has an account with the email address associated with it. This can make the organising and removing of online accounts much easier but this can be problematic if the owner has not determined who can access the account or shared information relating to access, such as login details. This can extend to cloud storage, logins/passwords to devices and ownership of assets on the device also.
The events of 2020 including the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly made many aware of ensuring their assets, digital or otherwise are organised in the event of the worst happening, however of those surveyed, just 29% of those surveyed have an up-to-date will.
Is your Will up to date? Does your Will include information relating to your digital assets? Our Wills, Trusts & Probate Services department have the knowledge and experience to ensure that your Will is not only up to date, but also includes provisions for your digital assets in the event of your death.