What happens to your digital assets when you die?
April 6, 2022
In today’s world, most people have some form of digital assets. These include all your online activities, from websites to social media accounts, and even emails and e-books. When we sign up for digital assets, we neglect to think about what will happen to them when we’re no longer around.
If you don’t have a valid will, or don’t include your digital assets in your will, they automatically pass to whoever inherits your estate. It is important to consider your digital assets when writing your will, especially if any of them have monetary value.
When it comes to social media accounts, there are different options and rules for each platform. For example, Instagram and Facebook provide the option to ‘memorialise’ your profile so images and messages can still be posted by family and friends. Some platforms will automatically delete an account if it has been inactive for a certain period of time and others give the option to specify a contact to take control of the account.
Your digital photos and videos may hold great sentimental value to you and your family. However, those held on a device, such as a phone or laptop, do not automatically belong to the person you have left the device to, they are considered their own separate asset. To ensure they don’t get lost and are given to someone you trust, you may want to specify this in your Letter of Wishes.
Email correspondence can hold private and confidential information you may not want shared. If this is the case, you should leave them with your executors and communicate your wishes to them, so they can delete your account, delete certain emails or pass them on for you.
In 2022 most businesses undertake some kind of digital activity, which means if you run your own company you’ll need to consider how to deal with your online business assets. Running a business is stressful and time-consuming so this may not be at the forefront of your mind, but it is important to consider who you would like to take ownership of your business if something happens and you’re no longer around.
Considering your digital assets as well as your physical assets can be a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t make you delay writing your will. Our wills and probate team can help with any questions you might have and provide professional legal advice about how to deal with your digital assets. Give us a call on 020 8313 1300.
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.