Protecting Digital Assets after your Death

24 July 2013

Have you thought about what will happen to your assets stored on the Internet or in the Cloud in the event of your death?

These assets can include social media accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked In), email accounts, photo sharing accounts, online bank accounts, music accounts and financial records.

Most of these sites require user names and are password protected and are therefore very difficult for anyone but the account holder to access. Obviously this will create problems for your executors and beneficiaries, should you pass away unexpectedly unless you plan in advance.

The question will also inevitably arise as to who will be the lawful owner of your photos, videos, or music collection stored on the Internet or in the Cloud.

Most people would not think to include details such as online passwords and user names as part of their Estate Planning.  However, given the changing times, this is becoming more and more necessary.

In considering the issue, it is important to undertake the following:

  • Attend to preparation of a list of all of your digital assets.
  • Write down the usernames and passwords to each account, as well as the website address and store them in a safe place – perhaps in a safety deposit box or with your Will, and ensure that it is updated regularly.
  • Consider whether or not it is necessary to list your accounts in your Will with a reference to where the relevant information is kept to access the accounts

It is easy to forget the digital assets, and access to them may be just as important as tangible assets or money, so it is important to protect the legacy of digital assets and maintain control of them.  You may wish to appoint a “Digital Beneficiary” under your Will for such purpose.

Should you require any further information on this matter, please contact Marvin Weinberg at our office.