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Get ahead and organised this New Year Does your Will cover everything it needs t

Most of us now have digital assets which have a value, whether that be photographs, videos, films, music, games accounts, family trees, blogs, social media accounts, bank accounts, crypto currencies or NFTs.  The list keeps growing…

As with all of your assets, it is important to decide what happens to them and who has access to them after you pass away. Digital assets may have both a financial and a sentimental value and including them in your  Will means it is less likely there will be a dispute after you pass away. You may also want to keep some conversations and messages private and prevent certain people from accessing them.

It is often difficult to know where to start, so it is advisable to make a list of all of your personal and business digital assets, usernames and passwords and what you would like to happen to it after your death.  This should naturally be kept securely and kept with an up-to-date copy of your  Will, with instructions on what should happen to them individually.

If you want to list your digital assets in your Will then these need to be specified as it isn’t enough to simply leave someone your phone, iPad, laptop or computer.  They need to also be given permission to access the data on it.

It is important to remember that some service providers do not allow the transfer of data when someone passes away, so your iTunes licence to listen to music is not transferrable to someone else after your death.

Putting a value on digital assets can be difficult and for inheritance purposes advice might need to be sought.  For example, if you have written a book and have a draft manuscript sitting on your computer then there could be a value if that is later published. Certainly there will be an intellectual value and you will be keen to protect your copyright for your beneficiaries.

Social media accounts which have a high number of followers and income generating potential also have a value, but the policy of how they are treated after the death of the creator varies from service provider. It is therefore important to check whether you can leave access for someone else to continue to post after your death or earn advertising revenue.

If you are a business owner then access to social media accounts might have an intrinsic value for those taking over running it, to help keep continuity and contact with customers and suppliers.

It can be very time consuming and frustrating trying to contact social media service providers individually, so access information and clear instructions on their use will be essential for your executor to allow them to deal with it.

For advice on writing or updating your Will, get in touch with our team today.

Alex Astley can be contacted at a.astley@gullands.com