Why you should include digital assets in your Will

May 13, 2022

The things we own usually have a quantifiable value. Our home, jewellery, investments, for example. And when clients talk to us about possessions to earmark for family members and friends, these are the assets they tend to think about.

It’s important to cover them in your Will, of course, but it’s also worth thinking about digital assets. They are things that are stored digitally - photos, emails and social media accounts, for example. Many will hold sentimental value, but it’s possible that some intellectual property will have been created in them, too. You may also own cryptocurrencies that have direct financial value.   

Digital assets don’t die when we do, and this can leave loved ones in the difficult position of knowing they exist but not being able to access them. In the aftermath of a bereavement, this is a situation best avoided.

The first step is to draw up a list of all assets. If you have beneficiaries in mind, note those too. It’s a little more complicated where digital assets are concerned; you may be able to pass some on, but this will depend on the asset in question as different rules apply. We will be able to advise you on this and on the best ways of leaving information and instructions that will make things easier for your loved ones to deal with when the time comes.

The change could be on the horizon. The Digital Devices (Access for Next of Kin) Bill is making its way through parliament. It proposes giving grieving families (and families of people who have become incapacitated) the right to access loved ones’ digital devices. If this becomes law, it stands to ease pressures on people who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. It’s therefore something I welcome.

But, for now, it’s very much a case of making thorough provision for digital assets in Wills. To speak to us about preparing a Will or updating a Will you have already made, contact us on 01264 353411 or at wills@bsandi.co.uk.

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