What are they, and why is it so difficult to sort out after a death?
There is no legal definition of Digital assets in the UK but it is taken to include assets with a financial value such as Paypal accounts, online trading accounts, cryptocurrencies, and maybe websites and blogs etc. as well as those that have “networking value” such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Then there are assets that have potentially little or no value such as email accounts, photos, and documents.
The bereaved are faced with looking at a laptop or desktop simply not knowing where to start. For those that die suddenly there may have been no time to pass on your security passwords etc to their loved ones.
You can start to help your loved ones make sense of your “online life” by completing a Digital Will (see below). This is a document whereby you can detail what you want to happen to social media accounts and other online accounts after your demise and give useful information for your executors or loved ones. You then need to keep it safe.
The difficulty comes with passwords. If you are writing them down in a Digital Will or other document there is a risk that the information could be abused or you could actually be in breach of the provider’s terms and conditions. However, an additional solution would be to use a password manager such as LastPass, 1 Password or Dashlane, thus making it easier with only one password. Putting passwords in your Will is not a good idea as the Will becomes publicly accessible information after probate, (unless you happen to be a member of the Royal family!)
For the bereaved and executors alike this can be very difficult, so please think ahead. If you require a Digital Will form you can download one here.