Wills & Probate | What Happens To Your Digital Assets When You Die
Updated: Aug 8
Research has revealed that only a quarter of people know what will happen to their digital assets after their death or why it is important to include them in their Will.
The Law Society commissioned a survey of over 1,000 adults, asking questions about whether they had made a Will. Just 29% of those questioned had an up to date Will. Of those with a Will, 93% had not included any provision for their digital assets.
Just over a quarter knew what would happen to their digital assets when they die with 7% saying that they fully understood and 19% saying they somewhat understood.
What are digital assets?
Digital assets include online accounts, social media, photos and videos stored online, web content etc.
This can include items that will be valuable to loved ones, such as photos, emails and social media account content, which can be thought of as a digital presence, rather than digital assets.
An estimated £25 billion in digital assets are held online and password-protected meaning that many loved ones cannot reach the digital assets.
As time goes on, digital assets are becoming increasingly prominent within our lives and yet so few people actually make provisions for those digital assets.
By passing on your digital assets, your family will be able to access documents that may be stored online as well as important emails, including correspondence from financial institutions that you have dealt with on a paper-free basis.
They will also be able to access photos and other personal items that could be comforting for them to have in the future.
Please note, however, that some social media accounts can be memorialised after death, or you may simply want your account deleted once your family have had a chance to copy any photos they want to keep.
You should be aware that some digital items are only held on licences, such as books and music, and when someone dies, they cannot be passed on.
Some social media accounts can be memorialised after death, or you may simply want your account deleted once your family have had a chance to copy any photos they want to keep.
It is important to set out clear instructions and not to assume that your family will know what accounts you have.
By leaving a Will, you can be sure that your loved ones will benefit from your estate, including your digital assets, in the way that you would want in the future. You can set out who you would like to receive your digital assets or how you would like them to be dealt with.
By leaving a clear Will, you can also avoid disputes and misunderstandings arising between your loved ones when the time comes, as everyone will be clear about what your wishes were.
It is also important to review your Will regularly, particularly the digital provisions, as these are likely to change over time.
The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute professional advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal, accountancy or financial advice as appropriate on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor, Accountant or Financial Advisor/Mortgage Broker before you embark on any course of action.
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