In a time when we are increasingly entrusting our lives to computers and the internet, the matter of what will happen to your digital assets when you die is something we all need to consider.
Firstly, what are digital assets and why do you need to think about these now?
Digital assets include any information held about you or created by you online or held on any device in a digital format. It can therefore include a broad spectrum of things.
You need to consider any digital finances you may have such as Bit Coin, PayPal etc. Do you already have something in place to specifically deal with these? If not, do you need to ensure that the proceeds of such accounts go to the correct person?
But it is not only financial matters that you should be thinking about – you also need to consider things such as your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts. You need to bear in mind your emails, Drop Box, One Drive, Google Drive and other online storage programs.
When you die, who will have access to these accounts? Who will deal with them on your behalf? Would you want them to be permanently closed and deleted or would you want the contents to pass to someone?
Facebook has recently introduced a feature allowing users in the USA and Canada to nominate a person who can have limited access to and control over accounts after the account holder dies. It seems likely that if successful in North America, this scheme will be rolled out across Europe – although this has not yet been confirmed. Similar features are likely also be picked up by other companies.
This is by definition an area of law that is constantly changing and evolving as technology develops, so watch this space…