What is a digital asset?
A digital asset can be an electronic record or file that is stored online. This could include the following:
- Online banking, credit cards, loans, insurance and accounts to manage your money and pay your bills
- Online retailer accounts
- Online subscription-based accounts
- Accounts such as Amazon, eBay, iTunes, PayPal etc.
- Online accounts for utilities
- Loyalty programs such as frequent flyer miles or credit card perks etc.
They can also include your digital presence which are valuable to loved ones such as:
- Social media accounts
Your Will provides information to your Executors on how you wish your Estate to be dealt with on your death but not knowing how to deal or indeed, what digital assets you have, can add stress at an already extremely emotional time for loved ones.
It is a good idea to make a list of your digital assets as suggested above with usernames and passwords. This information could be kept with your Will or other important documents together with instructions on what you would like to happen to them. Some people like their social media accounts to be used as a memorial after death or you may want your account to be deleted once family have copied any photos as keepsakes. It is important to set out clear instructions and not assume your family will know what accounts you have and what you would have liked to happen to them.
You should be aware that certain digital items eg. books and music are only held on licence and when someone dies, they cannot be passed on.
By protecting and leaving instructions in relation to your digital assets, you are reducing the risk of identify theft, hacking and fraud and giving your family peace of mind.
Apple’s iOS 15.02 update includes a new feature called Digital Legacy. This feature enables you to choose specific people (up to five family members or friends) who will be able to access your account after you die. Through “Settings” on the iPhone and “Password & Security”, ”Legacy Contact” option, an access code will be received and it is advised you keep this in a safe place with your other estate planning documents. The selected Digital Legacy contacts will then need to provide the code and a death certificate to access the account to be able to access data stored in iCloud like photos and documents.
It is important to review your Will regularly, together with your digital assets as these are likely to change over time. It is advisable to review your Will every 5-7 years or in the event of any major life changes such as divorce or the birth of a child.
Claire Houghton Alison Bristow Shona Newman Sharon Edwards