Including your digital assets in your will
Abbie Kingdon 19-01-2021
People are being urged to give consideration to a relatively new class of property when they are making their will - digital assets.
What are digital assets?
Digital assets are your private online information, including passwords and other log-in information associated with online banking and email accounts, mobile phones, photographs, personal emails and social media accounts.
How can get into the emails of someone who has died?
If the friends or family of someone who has died wants to access their email account, it can be very difficult if the deceased person has not told someone else their password, before they died.
If you don't know the passwords of someone who has died, the only real option to getting access to their emails and other social media accounts, is obtaining a court order against each of the companies involved, which can be lengthy and expensive.
Should I put passwords in my will?
Following a recent survey, the Law Society has now urged people to include their digital assets in their wills. Research conducted as part of the survey revealed that 93% of people preparing wills have not included any digital assets in it, and only a quarter were aware of what happens to these when they die.
David Greene, Law Society president, said: “modern technology is a huge part of modern life” and warned that overlooking digital assets could leave family members unable to access information needed for probate. He also stated: “writing a digital will and keeping a clear record of online passwords ensures that your loved ones are able to access your digital accounts and are not faced with any additional stresses during probate”.
There is of course the more personal an emotional information which loved ones might wish to access, in particular the deceased's photographs.
Rather worryingly, the survey also revealed that only 29% of those surveyed had up to date wills in place, despite there being an increase in the number of people making a will during the current pandemic. Disputes about wills and inheritance have been rising for several years, and they are generally costly and distressing for families to have to deal with. The best way to avoid this type of dispute arising, is to have a properly drafted will in place.
If you want to get your will drafted, or update your current will then please contact our private client department who would be happy to help. We are happy to check current wills for free, and let you know whether any amendments are necessary.