Should I include digital assets in my Will?21/03/2023
It’s probably no surprise that properties, family heirlooms and arrangements for children and pets are usually high on the agenda when preparing a Will.
After all, these are often the assets with the most financial or sentimental value and it’s imperative that we have the reassurance that the family members left behind are looked after following our death.
However, there is another type of asset which is frequently overlooked when it comes to putting your affairs in order.
We are, of course, referencing digital assets which nearly everyone has in their lives in some capacity.
With a Which? survey finding that 77% of its members have digital assets of sentimental value and 35% have assets of financial value, it’s clearly not something to brush under the carpet.
So whether you have a high net cryptocurrency or NFT wallet, or are just signed up to a social media site, it is increasingly important to consider what happens to your online presence after your death.
If you do not stipulate how you would like these assets to be divided in your Will then it is likely that any with monetary value will be distributed according to intestacy rules, which may mean it does not go to the recipient you intended.
Additionally, as assets are often spread across various platforms with their own specific terms and conditions, it can be a complex and time consuming process for loved ones to navigate if preparations aren’t in place.
It may be that you would like those close to you to have access to music or photo sharing websites so they can connect with your interests after your death, but unless this is stipulated in a Will then confidentiality clauses may restrict a platform from facilitating this.
Many social media accounts contain decades of memories and therefore you may wish to consider which of these organisations allow users to memorialise pages, so family and friends can continue to visit them.
On the other hand, there may be some files saved in the digital sphere that you would prefer to keep private or be destroyed and outlining this clearly as part of the estate planning process can minimise further distress in what is already a very difficult time for those close to you.
While we have outlined the pressing need to account for digital assets in your Will, the process can be complicated and it is worth noting that not all digital assets can be gifted.
It is therefore important to discuss your options with a solicitor so they can talk you through the process in depth.
This will ensure that your wishes are clearly outlined in a legally binding document so you have the peace of mind that your assets are accounted for and your loved ones are looked after.
For friendly, trusted advice on leaving digital assets or making a Will, contact Lydia McCaslin, Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate at Mincoffs Solicitors, on email@example.com or call the office on 0191 281 6151.