One of the region’s leading wills and inheritance lawyers has warned that thousands of people aren’t securing their digital assets when writing a will.
Melinda Rice, a senior associate at law firm mfg Solicitors, says there are a growing number of people who are unaware of their digital assets when it comes to preparing for the future.
An individual’s digital assets can include online bank accounts, pensions, shares, PayPal and Amazon accounts, and even more personal online platforms such as Instagram and Facebook accounts which hold precious photographs and memories.
Ms Rice said: “Sadly, little is known in the UK about the role digital assets can play in the making of a will. It’s becoming more of an issue as the population lives longer and many use online accounts for their finances and saving photos etc. I have found it’s certainly not something people think about when they put pen to paper.
“Digital assets should be considered a vital part of an estate just like physical ones, partly because some accounts may have funds still available, or others may hold sentimental images. Any digital assets that are not specifically mentioned in a will are considered part of the residuary estate and therefore pass to whichever beneficiary is entitled to the inheritance.
“We are seeing more and more people coming to us about digital assets, but it’s clear there are thousands who have no idea of the role they play when setting out their intentions when writing their wills.
“My advice, before it’s too late, is people should conduct a thorough review of their digital assets, and even keep a secure record of any logins, usernames and passwords. That will allow executors to access online accounts in a secure way, potentially taking even further problems and heartache away.”
For more detailed legal advice on digital assets, readers can contact Melinda through email@example.com