Guest Post by Sophie Forsyth – Should I put digital assets in my Will?

Guest Post by Sophie Forsyth – Should I put digital assets in my Will?

In an increasingly digital world, many of us are guilty of not thinking about how our digital lives will pass on our deaths. Many of us now hold digital photographs on our mobile phones, monies in digital wallets like Paypal, social media accounts and even electronic drafts of books that we never finished writing on our computers.

So what happens to digital assets when you die?

Every company has its own rules about what happens with their accounts on a person’s death. This can also be complicated by the fact that digital companies are often based in different countries. The rules here in England and Wales may not necessarily be the same in the US, Europe or even Scotland!

If you are an Executor or Administrator you may be wondering how you access these assets to deal with them. For example, what email address or password is linked to the account?

If you can access the assets then the next question is, who receives them? Where the item can be duplicated, for example photographs, these can be transferred to a number of recipients. But what about things like the rare player on Fifa 21 that you purchased, which can’t be duplicated?

Some digital assets will have a monetary value which could affect the inheritance tax position of your estate. Your Executors could experience difficulties if they don’t know about the assets or cannot access them.

The easiest way to avoid any uncertainty is to make a Will. Even better, make a Will which addresses your digital assets. Specialist solicitors can assist with preparing your Will to include particular digital assets, or to cover all of them. It is also important to draft these clauses in the most flexible way to ensure that you don’t need to update your Will every time you get a new social media account!

If you are an Executor or Administrator dealing with an estate that contains digital assets then you might also want to seek advice on how to deal with estates comprising of both ‘traditional’ and digital assets. If the assets are particularly high value then the beneficiaries may wish to retain the assets, and it is important to maintain the value wherever possible to maximise the beneficiary’s entitlement.

If you are reading this blog then you have taken the first step of considering what happens to digital assets on death. The next step is – what are you going to do about it?

Sophie Forsyth, Solicitor, Brethertons LLP.

If you believe that you can benefit from advice on ensuring that your Will is up to date then the first instance please contact you usual GHC Wealth Management adviser to discuss.