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What Happens to Digital Assets on Your Death?

When making a Will, one thing to consider is what you want to happen to your assets when you pass away.  Among other things, the document allows you to express your wishes in writing and provides peace of mind to everyone involved.  But any reference to your ‘assets’ in the Will does not automatically include digital assets – these are intangible information held in digital form rather than having a physical presence like property or bank accounts.  Examples are music accounts such as Spotify and YouTube Music as well as social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).  They also include e-photos, e-books and cryptoassets.  As the world becomes more and more digital, it is important to consider what will happen to your digital assets on your death.

Some social media accounts are automatically deleted after a period of time due to inactivity.  However, some accounts can be ‘memorialised’ so that profile photos can be updated and bereavement messages can be received after the account holder has passed away.  A ‘Legacy Contact’ can be nominated during the account holder’s lifetime to take control of that digital asset when the holder dies.  This is a fairly new concept and more companies may follow suit as technology continues to develop.  Watch this space!

It is a good idea to make an Inventory of Digital Assets to be mentioned in your Will, or a side Letter of Wishes, so that your Executors understand the full extent of your estate when the time comes.  This is particularly important if your Executors need to work out the value of your overall estate to account to HMRC.  The inventory should be regularly reviewed and kept up-to-date and it is good practice to review your Will at least every 5 years in any event.


If you would like any further information or help with leaving your digital assets behind, please contact a member of our Wills and Estate Planning department on 01256 320555 or mail@clarkeandson.co.uk

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