Digital Inheritance: What happens to your online assets when you pass away?

Online gambling appears to be more popular than ever and it is not the only thing we have all taken to doing online.

If you took the time to think about all the places you visit where you have an account you could be surprised. Increasingly more and more of us have online bank accounts, and many other online assets such as PayPal, eBay, ebook or digital music libraries, and even virtual currencies.

In the UK alone, the value of individuals’ digital assets has been estimated at £25 billion. A third of consumers claimed they would not be able to replace these digitally-stored assets if they were lost or compromised, and 25% said that nobody would be able to access their digital content after their deaths.

Have you considered what will happen to these assets if you were to die? Do you want them to pass to the same people as the rest of your estate. Even if that is the case do the right people know about the assets and have access to them?

You should first establish what your rights are against the accounts you have. Different asset providers have very different rules. Some allow you to transfer the benefits of your account on death, others (including iTunes) do not. Other account holders, for example Betfair, have a policy whereby any residual balance in your account is forfeited after a period of inactivity if they are unable to contact you.

It is therefore vitally important that you keep a record of the digital assets you have, even if you wish this to remain private during your lifetime. One way to do this would be to use an online digital inheritance arrangement. You can record all your online accounts and provide a ‘guardian’ for each who can control this account if you should die. Each account can have a different guardian and you can also set the system to hide any accounts you may not wish known (for example, an online gambling account) after your death. An added advantage is that this service provides you with a one-stop-shop for secure storage of passwords to your accounts while you are alive.

For the most up-to-date information and advice tailored to your personal circumstances, speak to a member of our Wills team today 

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