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Have you ever thought about what would happen to your digital assets when you are no longer around? What would happen to the thousands of pounds you have stashed away in your secret betfair account that nobody else knows the password to or even knows exists?

   

It is becoming increasingly difficult to deal with the financial affairs of loved ones upon their death due to the significant increase in the amount and value of assets we hold digitally. This can be anything from banking and social networking to storing pictures and listening to music. It is therefore more important than ever to organise your digital information and give thought as to how you wish your digital assets to be dealt with in the unfortunate event that your body crashes and you are unable to reboot.

   

Top Tips

  • Make a list of logins and passwords for all online accounts and devices and keep a hardcopy in a safe place. You should make your executors aware of this list but do not give them a copy. Executors will need to access information for the purposes of tax returns and when administering the estate. (Remember to update the list every few months).
 
  • Review all terms and conditions agreed when creating online accounts as there may be specific terms on which your digital assets will be administered on death or if there is no activity for a prolonged period of time.
 
  • Some accounts allow you to set up someone of your choice with permission to access online accounts following inactivity. If you chose to share data with your trusted contact, they will receive an email containing a list of the data you have chosen to share with them, and a link they can follow to download the data.
 
  • Executors could be instructed to leave a particular message for followers or friends. Consider whether such a message should be posted on personal pages on social media and who should be able to see them (for example, just close friends or everyone on the social media network).
 
  • Print off hard copies, burn to CD or download onto a USB stick any photographs and documents that are only stored digitally and keep them in a safe place where executors can find them.
 
  • Retain copies of key documents and data on a personally owned device (such as a laptop, tablet or personal computer). This may make it easier for executors to access and print off assets.
 
  • Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin will be liable to Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax as it forms part of the deceased’s estate and must be valued at the date of death.
 

Aside from digital financial assets (online credits, bitcoins, stocks, gaming, online banking etc.) many of us are leaving a much larger online footprint than ever before and it is important to consider your how you would like your social and online inventory dealt with after you pass away. Photos, social media accounts, music, books, website domains, blogs etc. are just a few items to consider when planning ahead.

   

If you do not leave clear instructions, it is possible that your Executors or family will not be aware of all digital assets and therefore will not be able to take steps to wind them up or deal with them how you would have intended.

   

For further information on digital assets and how you can protect or plan for them within your will please contact Hannah Lockyer on 01256 305521 or email hannah.lockyer@lambbrooks.com

 

 The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.