More people in the UK own digital assets than cars yet there remains confusion and uncertainty over what happens to your online life and assets once you die, according to solicitor Zara Mair.
Over 80% of British people own digital assets worth in excess of £2.3bn and with the online world becoming ever more intertwined in our day-to-day lives, Zara warns it is becoming increasingly important to consider how you want this managed after your death and to incorporate your wishes within your Will.
Zara, a solicitor with leading legal, financial and property specialists Pagan Osborne, said:
“Three quarters of people in the UK have a car and it is likely that this would be an asset you would wish to deal with as part of your estate within your Will. Yet despite a higher proportion of Britons owning online assets such as music, videos and images, it is something most simply haven’t considered.
“Statistics show Britons have at least £2.3bn worth of digital assets and three quarters of these digital asset holders feel these hold great sentimental value. If a loved one died, you wouldn’t want to lose all their physical photo albums, CDs, DVDs and mementos, but you could lose all those memories and assets stored online if you fail to consider how these should be dealt with following death.”
One in ten people have left, or are planning to, leave their passwords in their Wills. Zara added:
“It is encouraging people are starting to think about this but I think that the more the vast majority of us rely on the online world and its capacity to store our assets, the more people need to seriously consider these assets when drafting their Will.
“Online accounts such as Paypal and gaming and gambling sites can hold considerable sums of credit for some people and these should be able to be identifiable and accessible by your executor to ensure they are not trapped in cyberspace unknown to your loved ones.
“It is as simple as including instructions within your Will to your executor on how you wish them to deal with your online assets and accounts and noting your passwords within a confidentially sealed envelope to be stored alongside your Will.
“It is important to check the terms and conditions of all your online service providers as each will be different. The law in this area is slowly evolving but at an alarmingly slower pace than the technology itself so we shouldn’t rely only on legislation to protect us. The easiest way to ensure your online assets are dealt with the way you would wish following your death is to address this within your Will.”
Source: Metro article 12/3 which quotes sources as Rackspace, Remember a Charity