Research by the Law Society has revealed that 93% of people have not considered including digital information in their will—potentially leaving loved ones without access to important financial accounts, documents, and years of memories stored online.
25% of those surveyed said they knew what would happen to their digital assets after they die but only 7% fully understood the importance of detailing this kind of information in their will. Digital information might include passwords, social media logins, and online or cloud-based storage for documents or photos. Many utility companies, savings accounts, and even mortgages are most easily accessed online nowadays, and without the necessary login details, online banking and credit cards could be difficult to access, making the probate process more complicated. There could even be significant online financial assets to consider, such as PayPal or Bitcoin, which could affect the overall value of an estate.
So much of our lives are online now, it makes sense to ensure digital information is included in our wills so that executors can find the necessary passwords and online assets and complete the probate process as easily as possible.
Law Society president David Greene explains:
“Technology is a huge part of modern life and our digital assets include everything from photos stored online to online banking and email accounts.
Photos, social media accounts and emails from loved ones are often just as treasured as physical possessions – and yet very few people understand what happens to their digital assets or why it is important to include them in their will.
With many social media platforms only created in the last few decades, it is all too easy to overlook your digital assets when making a will.
However, this can leave family members unable to access family photos saved on the deceased’s online accounts or close their loved one’s social media accounts.
It can also leave them unable to access information they might need for probate which is stored on the deceased’s email or online banking accounts.
Writing a digital will and keeping a clear record of online passwords ensures that your loved ones are able to access your digital assets and are not faced with any additional stresses during probate.”
To draw up (or update) a will that includes both your physical and digital assets, and all the necessary information your executors might require, get in touch with our wills and probate team at www.franceslindsay.co.uk.