Author Brightstone Law LLP

Do you know what happens to your digital assets on your death?

In our fast-evolving digital world, it is now becoming increasingly important to consider your digital assets and what should happen to them when you die.  Digital assets don’t just include online only bank accounts or investments that you may have.  They include social media accounts, email accounts or e-commerce accounts.  Your Facebook account for example, or your Instagram account are accounts with hundreds of pictures that you have uploaded in your lifetime that your family may want to have to remember you by.  And what about your Air Miles? Or your Nectar points?  Over the years it is very easy to accumulate a significant stash of loyalty points and Air Miles, especially for those who fly regularly for business.

Digital assets are not as easy to deal with as one may imagine.  Merely leaving your login details and passwords for your executors to manage your accounts is considered an offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.  Although it is unlikely that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) would take action against a personal representative dealing with the administration of an estate, it is best practice for us to advise that the terms and conditions of the ISP should not be breached.  There are also considerable differences in how different companies navigate this grey area.  At present, the law does not deal adequately with how a personal representative may gain access to your digital assets, so it is up to the individual companies to implement their own policies.  These policies and restrictions are usually hidden away in the small print of loyalty schemes and many people will be unaware that certain schemes require an express clause dealing with any points or Air Miles to be contained within a will.

When you make a new will with Brightstone Law, or update your existing will, we will advise you fully on the most up to date recommendations for dealing with your digital assets on your death.  This will ensure that your wishes are respected and ensure your loved ones are able to deal efficiently and effectively with your estate.

Abigail Cohen