Many people are aware of the importance of making a Will to deal with physical assets on death, for example, house, car, money etc. With the growing use of online resources, more of us should be paying attention to our digital assets.
In general digital assets can be separated into 3 categories:-
- digital assets with financial worth for example solely online bank accounts or online businesses
- digital assets with sentimental value for example photographs stored online or on a hard drive
- digital assets which divulge personal information for example a Facebook account which gives name, date of birth and address details.
When making a Will, thought should be given to all these digital assets. For example, how will your Executors access your online accounts or deal with an online business on your death? You should ensure that any arrangements put in place should not conflict with any existing Will. The Executor of the estate has the right and responsibility to deal with the estate on death and so they should be given the means to do so. It may be possible to leave a note of online assets together with access details and passwords with the Will. Of course, passwords can change and so this information will only be useful if kept up-to-date. Care should be taken not to include any sensitive data such as passwords in the Will itself which will become a public document once it has been sent to Probate.
With the growing use of online resources, this seems to be a developing area and new services offering solutions to the problem are emerging offering online space to store lists of digital assets or an encrypted area of a hard drive to store confidential data.
If you have online or digital assets, you should consider what will happen to them on your death.
If you would like to discuss making a Will, please call us on 01473 213311 and ask to speak to a member of the Private Client team.
Laura Parker | Solicitor
Private Client Department, Kerseys