What Happens To Your Digital Assets After Death

October 2021
Digital
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According to Will Aid research, half of Britons don’t have a will. Of those people, 21% believe they don’t have any possessions or assets worth leaving. (1)  
But as the majority of us these days have a virtual and online presence, what happens to your digital assets if you die without making a will? And which could – and should – be protected?

Paul Mounce, partner at Gosschalks Solicitors said:

“The younger generation, which includes those aged 30 to 49, are often the worst offenders when it comes to getting round to writing a will. I regularly hear that making a will reminds them that they’re getting older and generally think they don’t have anything of value to leave behind, so don’t need to think about it yet.

Unfortunately, no one knows what life has in store for us, and while the younger generation might not own a house, a car, have a big bank balance, or any children, the majority of them will have digital assets that should be protected and will need to be recovered should anything happen.”

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What is a digital asset?
A digital asset can include:
•    Social media profiles
•    Email accounts
•    Shopping accounts like Amazon
•    Online bank accounts and payment systems like PayPal
•    Digital photographs
•    Online games
•    Books or music bought from the likes of iTunes
•    Registered domain names
•    Copyrighted material you’ve created digitally
•    The devices you use to access all of the above

This is a developing area of the law, and while assets will most likely have greater emotional and sentimental value rather than financial value, there is no definitive answer as to how digital assets will be dealt after death.

Some of your digital legacy requirements can be covered in a basic will, and will help navigate your loved ones through the various virtual assets you have.

How to protect your digital assets in your will:

  1. Make an inventory of all your digital assets and store a hard copy with your will.
  2. Regularly download and store copies of digital photographs onto a separate storage device.
  3. Check the terms and conditions and service agreements for each of your accounts to see if it specifies what will happen to the account on your death and whether you actually own anything that your beneficiaries can inherit.
  4. Consider if any of your online accounts have monetary value. If so, are they to be sold and who are the proceeds to be given to?
  5. Think about the social networking sites you’re registered with and if the service provider offers an option to memorialise your account after death. Then you can put your wishes and any particular message you’d like to leave to friends or followers in your will. Or leave a request expressing which of your profiles and accounts you would want to be closed down.

And Finally…
Our Bionic Will Writing service is an easy way to arrange your will online, but with the expertise of a skilled solicitor. To find out more about this service visit our website. Or to discuss your estate planning needs please contact your usual adviser or email enquiries@lebc-group.com.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate Will Writing.

LEBC & Gosschalks
(1) 
Will Aid Research https://www.willaid.org.uk/latest-news/more-half-british-adults-have-no-will-survey-reveals


Please remember, no news or research item is a recommendation or advice to buy. LEBC Group Ltd is not responsible for accuracy and may not share the author’s views. The contents of this blog are for information purposes only and do not constitute individual advice. All information is based on our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax advice, wills or trusts.

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