Don’t forget your digital assets

Digital technologies now help us to run most of our lives – on top of our physical possessions, we are building a parallel world of digital assets – within the capability of our smart phones is the ability to: book a taxi; order a food delivery; play games; watch TV; send money to relatives; book appointments with professionals; check bank balances; pay bills; listen to music or podcasts; read books, magazine and journal articles (including this one); meet strangers; follow sport stars and celebrities; and, donate to our favourite charity. The list is endless.

So much of our life, both professional and personal, has found its way into the digital sphere. As a solicitor who regularly helps people with planning for death through will making, an important question I ask clients to consider is: what will happen to their digital assets on their death?

Often, family members may not have regard for digital assets at all, let alone give proper consideration as to how they should be distributed. Aside from the legal requirement to administer these assets, families will want to protect the deceased’s information which could otherwise be easily deleted or lost. Whilst some digital assets have financial value; most will have sentimental value, such as messages, photos and videos stored online within the likes of Facebook or other social media platforms.

It is my role to help your family know about your digital assets and to understand how you would like your digital assets to be dealt with on your death. Everyone wants to be remembered for the person they are and not the mess they left behind.

For further information please contact Ian Bond, Head of the Wills & Estates team at Thursfields on 0121 796 4027, or Twitter @ianbondTEP.

Ian is the author of the Digital Assets chapter of the Probate Practitioners Handbook (8th Edition), published by to The Law Society.

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