What happens to the digital version of you when you die?

It is a common misconception that people think they do not need to make a Will because they do not have anything of ‘significant value’ to leave to family and friends.

However, with the modern world and technology constantly evolving, most people now have some form of digital assets which are equally as important to include in a Will as money in the bank.

A Will is  something that is not only relevant for people who own property or have large sums of money invested, it is a also a legal document which enables you to stipulate who you would like to deal with anything and everything you own when you die and how you would like things dealt with, including assets of a digital nature.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets can include, but are not limited to:

  • Social media accounts, such as Instagram, Facebook
  • Online dating profiles
  • Online banking facilities
  • Email accounts
  • Digital photographs
  • Digital currencies, for example Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies
  • Recorded personal or professional videos
  • Data storage devices
  • Websites
  • Electronic documents including spreadsheets, presentations

The Law Society recently commissioned a survey which found that 93% of people who have made a Will had not included any provision for digital assets and only 7% of people said that they fully understood what would happen to their digital assets when they die.

By not considering what will happen to your digital assets after your death can cause real problems when administering an estate if family members and personal representatives cannot access online banking accounts.

Would you really want your spouse, children, partner looking through your digital content?  Some people are of the opinion they would not mind loved ones dealing with their personal information online, however, other people would rather ensure that they name the person they would like to deal with assets of a digital nature. By thinking ahead in regards to who you would like to deal with the information and who should have your photos and emails for example, you can help to avoid potential family disputes and disagreements over who can have your photos etc.

What can I do to protect my digital assets?

By putting a Will in place that includes instructions for dealing with digital assets you can name who you would like to deal with your digital content and what should happen to the information after your death.  Regardless of whether your digital content has any financial value, it is essential to consider what will happen to the digital version of you after your death.

It is really important to seek professional advice to ensure everything is correctly in place and Barrett and Co Solicitors are here to guide you through the process of making a Will. Barrett and Co Solicitors have specialist legal professionals who will sit down with you to discuss what assets you have, whether digital or not, to make sure you have a Will that you understand and with which you are comfortable.

Please do not hesitate to telephone 0118 958 9711 or email [email protected] and someone from the team will be in touch to assist you.

Further Reading:

Court of Protection Involvement After Death

Do I need to use a Solicitor to create a Lasting Power of Attorney?

Contentious Probate: How Much and Who Pays?

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Get in Touch

Juliette Spanner is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and works in the Private Client department at Barrett & Co.

If you would like to get in touch with Juliette or have a question for her regarding her area of work, please email her at [email protected] or call her on 0118 958 9711.

"barrettandco" and "Barrett & Co" are trading names of Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP, a Limited Liability Partnership incorporated in England and Wales under registration number OC356263, with registered office at Salisbury House, 54 Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4AZ. Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority www.sra.org.uk (SRA Number 549694).

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