What would happen to your internet accounts and other digital assets on Death?

Our professional, personal and social lives increasingly rely on an online presence, and as a result, more and more sentimental and monetary value is being tied up in these digital assets.

Thought needs to be given to what will happen to these digital assets on death. Internet Service Providers have already considered this, for example Yahoo!’s policy is for any account left inactive for 12 months to be de-activated.  By contrast the law’s response has so far been unhelpful.  A recent Act amended the statutory definition of personal possessions, but did not take the opportunity to include intangible digital assets.

Advice on how to protect your digital assets.

For now the most appropriate means of dealing with intangible assets would be to ensure that they are left by way of a general gift in a Will.  A solicitor drafting the Will would ensure either that personal chattel legacies are amended to include digital assets, or include in the Will a separate legacy of ‘digital assets’.

It is however to be hoped that changes in the law will be forthcoming to protect this increasingly important albeit different type of asset. 

If you would like more information please contact one of our specialist lawyers.”