People who are planning on making a Will, as well as those who already have one in place, are being encouraged to consider the importance of including their digital assets when it comes to planning for the future.
While it is common for a Will to include instructions on what should happen to a person’s home, savings, investments and other valuables, many do not include provisions for digital assets that can be of equal importance to the person making the Will and their loved ones.
The term ‘digital assets’ covers almost anything that can be stored in binary form with an accompanying right to use. Typical examples include online accounts such as email, social media and photo sharing accounts, as well as any websites or domain names that you have registered. Items that you have stored on your computer are also considered digital assets, such as photos, videos, word documents, spreadsheets, emails, or anything else that has been created and stored digitally.
The growth in popularity and use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and online payment systems such as PayPal, are further examples of the importance and value of digital assets. In many cases, these assets can only be accessed by providing a username and password, with the account holder often being the only person in possession of this information.
Many of these assets will have a clear monetary value, for example, the balance in your PayPal account or sums that you have invested in Bitcoin, and you may wish to have provisions in place so that these can be passed on to friends or family after you die.
Similarly, many of the things we buy such as music, films, games and books are now purchased through platforms such as iTunes and Amazon Kindle and only exist in digital form. While these items may not hold the same value as such, you may wish to put plans in place so that others can have the benefit of them in the future.
Concerning social media accounts such as Facebook or Twitter, you may have views on how these should be dealt with after your death. In many cases these accounts will hold large amounts of personal information, so having them remain online for an indefinite period after your death may be inadvisable.
Our team of expert Wills & Estate Planning lawyers can provide essential and up-to-date guidance in respect of all Estate Planning matters. Offering a service that is uniquely client-focused, we can give clear, sympathetic, jargon-free advice to make sure that your estate, including digital assets, are dealt with in precisely the manner of your choosing.
Our lawyers are based in London, Sheffield and Manchester and assist clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 0808 168 5813 to find out how we can help.