It’s a fact these days that a person’s digital life is as important as their “physical” life.
When a person or a couple are sorting out their affairs and contemplating making Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney or Trusts, a great deal of thought is given over to what should happen to their house, investments, personal belongings and other tangible assets. But what of their digital estate?
Recent high profile reports of data breaches by social media giants and cyber-attacks on data-heavy organisations like the NHS demonstrate how important it is to protect your own digital assets.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, online photos/videos, email addresses and all other social media content are “assets” and when dealing with an estate. So what should happen to them?
If an attorney is acting on your behalf or, if after your death, your personal representative is dealing with your estate then in order for them to deal with everything properly they need to know about your digital assets as well your bank accounts. How would you want this digital information to be dealt with in these scenarios?
You will need to give consideration to how these digital assets can be accessed and look into the difficult issue of password control and where a record of passwords should be kept in a safe and secure way.
And for more “traditional” assets such as bank accounts these are increasingly existing solely in the digital world with no physical bank statements, cheque books or even bank cards. How would an attorney or personal representative even know about them if there was no paper trail? There needs to be a clear record of account numbers so that come the time a personal representative or attorney knows where to trace assets.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.