27 October 2020
Private client - October 2020 – 2 of 4 Insights
You get up in the morning, check your emails on your laptop, scroll through social media whilst making a coffee, take photos on your phone of your family on a trip to the park, log onto your online bank account to pay a bill and later earn credit card points from an online purchase.
We would wager that this sounds familiar to everyone reading this, but how many have considered what would happen to this digital presence on their death? Perhaps not the cheeriest of topics but certainly an important one given the way in which we are all living our lives increasingly online.
Here are the key facts to be aware of – plus some practical hints and tips to bear in mind.
There is no statutory definition of a "digital asset" but it is generally taken to mean:
In many cases, although the digital assets have no financial value, they do have huge sentimental value and a deceased's family would have a strong wish to retain access to the assets following a death.
The answer ultimately depends on how much planning has gone into your online presence prior to your death and the terms and conditions of the third-party providers with whom accounts are held. For example, some third-party providers may delete accounts, but some may give access to a nominated contact or to personal representatives provided certain documentation is produced.
Grappling with an individual's digital estate invariably throws up many thorny issues for personal representatives and family members, which we can assist with.
However we would urge all to take a proactive approach to keeping their digital affairs in order.
If you would like to take control of your digital legacy and reduce the burden on your family, contact us for advice and assistance on both the 'here and now' measures.
by Multiple authors