More and more places are encouraging us towards a digital world, as, for banking or shopping, it can be more cost effective, and, it is a great way of staying in touch, socially.
Your executor(s) are responsible for dealing with your estate, this includes your digital assets but how can they deal with your digital assets if they are unaware of them or cannot access them? This is where you can help your executors by following the tips below.
What are Digital Assets?
- ACCOUNTS: Email accounts, shopping accounts and device passwords
- SOCIAL: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn
- STORAGE: Photographs, Dropbox, iCloud
- MONEY: Online Banking, Paypal, lotto, Gaming
Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, iTunes
Some service providers such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, iTunes may include provisions in their terms of business stating that the use of their services is a licence and it will be terminated on death. This prohibits you from sharing your login and passwords but your Executors will need to arrange for the closure of such accounts.
Do you have a Paypal/Online Shoppping Accounts?
You own these Accounts, the Accounts may hold funds or may have a debt due, which, is payable from your estate. Your Executors will need to collect the funds held as they will form part of your estate or pay any debts from your estate. If a record of such Accounts are not made along side your Will these may get missed or collected a lot later when the estate administration has been finalised - your Executors could then find themselves personally liable if they cannot get funds from a Beneficiary in order to pay a debt due from your estate.
What can you do to help your Executors?
It would be helpful for your Executors if you keep a Digital Asset Log ('Log'). The Log should include a list of all your digital assets and assets which are not banking assets, you should include login and passwords. A hard copy of the Log should be stored with your Will so it is easy for your Executors to locate, rather than storing it electronically. You should review the Log on a regular basis, every 6 months to ensure the information is current. The Log should also include any instructions which you wish your Executors to follow.
Uploading Photographs on Social Media
Do you own the content of your social media? You may have taken the photo and uploaded it onto social media but the use of it is controlled by the service provider. We would advise saving the photographs onto a hard drive or printing a hard copy so that they can be passed onto your loved ones, also, keep a note of this on your Digital Asset Log.
What can you do in the future?
When creating online accounts take a few minutes to consider the specific terms relating to how the account will be dealt with after your death and take any steps you consider necessary for someone to deal with these accounts. If possible nominate someone, such as your executor or a person with your permission, to access your accounts following your death. Some service providers may provide such a facility.
Why Use Sutton & Co Solicitors?
- Fixed Fee Price Promise
- Estate Planning Advice provided
- Free Will Storage for Life
- Quick Turn around time on Wills
- Your work will be carried out by a Solicitor who is a Full Member of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioner (STEP)
- Your work will be carried out by a Full Accredited Member of the Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE)
- We are an accredited member of the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS)
- We are an accredited member of Lexcel - the Law Society's legal practice quality mark for demonstrating excellence in legal practice management and client care
Mrs Harpreet Talwar is Head of the Private Client Department and is the Full Member of STEP and Full Accredited Member of SFE
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