Digital legacies: Make sure your will is fit for the 21st century

| May 6, 2014 | 0 Comments

Wills specialists at Collas Crill are urging islanders to leave a digital legacy after their death.

The warning comes after the UK Law Society highlighted the need to make sure wills are fit for the 21st Century.

A digital legacy will include clear instructions about what should happen to your social media, computer games and other online accounts. Not making your wishes clear could mean important or sentimental material – such as photographs on social networks – is never recovered. Digital assets can also include music, films, email accounts and computer game characters.

Collas Crill’s Wills and Estates specialist Julie Harrigan said: “When we think of legacies in a will we think of cash bequests or the family heirloom but in this digital era, legacies are changing.

“In today’s digital world, where more and more aspects of an individual’s life are taking place online, it is important to consider what will happen to your digital assets when you pass away, e.g. on-line banking, photographs, music.

“Gone are the days of photographs being kept in albums; it is now more commonplace to store these on a laptop or online and families are at risk of losing these precious memories if arrangements are not made to ensure that they are passed on.”

Julie explained that Internet Service Providers, social networking and photo sharing sites do not necessarily give family members access to their loved one’s account when they die.

She added: “When completing your will, you may want to discuss your digital assets with a member of our wills and estate team and they will be able to advise you how to deal with these assets.”

Thinking about your digital legacy? Consider:

  • Do you have a Twitter or Facebook account? Would you want it to be deactivated in the event of your death? Leaving clear instructions will make it easier for your executors to have it closed.
  • Do you have an online bank account? Making your digital legacy clear will enable your executors to close it down and claim the money on behalf of your estate.
  • Completing a Personal Assets Log, including digital assets and how those dealing with your estate will be able to access those assets is preferable to leaving a list of passwords or PINs.

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