Digital Assets After Death

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Many of us consider and plan what will happen to our assets after we pass, however have you ever considered what will happen to your digital assets and accounts after death, and whether or not someone will be able to access them?

Digital assets can include music, films and photographs stored online and also bank accounts that may only allow online access. Most online accounts such as savings accounts or even Facebook or Hotmail, require passwords which would make it difficult for your executors to gain access.

Policies surrounding your assets after death vary among some of the internets big hitters, for example:

  • Twitter will deactivate an account upon the request of an executor and the production of a death certificate.
  • Facebook has two options. Firstly, the site enable a person’s profile to be turned into a memorial page. The account will be locked, but other users can still interact with the deceased’s profile.  Secondly, the site allows an account to be removed upon request by a family member or executor.
  • Google has recently added a new feature called ‘inactive account manager’ which prompts users to decide the fate of their accounts should they die.  However if this feature is not utilised, Google state that they will only allow access to another person’s account in rare circumstances.

So what can be done to ensure that the Executors or Administrators of your Will can access and deal with your Digital assets after you die?

  • Firstly consider what online accounts you have that will need to be dealt with upon your passing and make a concise list. It is  important to keep the list updated regularly.
  • Write down the log in details and passwords for the accounts and store this information in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box at the bank or with a solicitor. Do not store this information online and do not leave it lying around at your property.
  • Make reference to the location of this information in your Will, in order for your executors deal with your digital assets.

With people spending more and more time on the internet nowadays and with more money being spent and invested over the internet, it is important that everyone considers their Digital Assets in addition to their other assets when making a Will. Making a Will and referencing your digital assets will also make it easier for your family and executors to deal with your estate in what will already be a difficult time.

Jennifer Wilkinson

About Jennifer Wilkinson

Jennifer Wilkinson is an Associate Solicitor within the Wills, Probate, Trusts and Tax Department at Forbes Solicitors. Jennifer’s blogs cover her specialisms of Will writing, dealing with the administration of estates, paying for care, powers of attorney and court of protection issues. Jennifer is also a member of Solicitors for the Elderly and specialises in matters specifically relating to elderly clients.
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