What happens to your digital assets after you die?
It’s not something any of us like to think about, but we all know we need to plan for what happens after we die.
Hopefully you’ve made a Will, having considered what should happen to your assets and who should be responsible for dealing with them as your Executors, and you may even have taken advice on your Inheritance Tax position.
However, have you given any thought as to what will happen to your digital assets after you die?
Many people have assets of substantial value that only exist digitally. For example, you may have online bank accounts or share portfolios, funds held in websites, or even cryptocurrency. If your Executors are unaware of these assets, or unable to access them after you die, then your chosen beneficiaries would be missing out on what is potentially a significant part of your estate.
While planning for the future it is therefore sensible to ensure that you have left for your Executors secure records of your digital assets, sufficient to enable them to locate and deal with those assets.
Even aside from those assets of financial value, you may likely have other assets of real sentimental value that you would not like to be lost after you die, such as photographs, documents and videos. Whereas in the past it was usual to leave physical photo albums for those you leave behind, these days it is not uncommon for these records to exist only digitally, either on your own phone or computer, or else online on some kind of cloud service.
Without the appropriate preparation during your lifetime, your Executors may find it impossible to obtain access to these digital records, and so there is the risk that these could be lost after you die. You should therefore make sure to leave your Executors with guidance both as to how they can obtain your digital records, and what you would like them to do with them. Some records you might like to be shared with friends and family; others you might prefer to be securely deleted.
As the world and our lives change, so do the things you need to think about when planning for the future, and therefore it is important that your professional advisors are able to provide the guidance you need in this area.
If you would like further advice, you can speak to one of the lifetime planning specialists at Ashtons Legal.
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