We should all have a Will but what happens to your digital assets and online profiles after you die? Do they just float somewhere online for an eternity? With an ever increasing amount of people using the internet for every aspect of their lives, there could be a surprising amount of personal information about you held online.

If you want to ensure that your digital accounts and assets are managed after you’ve passed away, whether that be removed from the internet or access given to your loved ones, you should keep a list of all of your relevant passwords to your accounts with your Will. It has also become increasingly popular to use a digital management app to store all your passwords as this only requires the use of one strong password to access them. Using either method, your passwords are then readily available for your Executors to manage your digital affairs.

What information should you include:

The list of information you may wish to include is never ending but, as an example, you may wish to include:

• PIN numbers to all electrical devices such as phones, tablets and laptops
• Log in details for all social media accounts
• Copyrighted materials, trademarks etc
• Medical IDs and insurance numbers
• Details for any Cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, including a private key or unique code

HMRC has recently published updated guidelines relating to Crypto assets, stating that any cryptocurrency is subject to inheritance tax (IHT) and any disposals are subject to capital gains tax (CGT). Cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, can be stored in a number of ways that usually involve a unique code, or private key which matches another code or key. However, if the unique code is lost, the Bitcoin is lost forever. As Bitcoin is not printed, if there is no record of any details relating to this asset, it is untraceable and so beneficiaries will be unable to access the Bitcoin.

The majority of people are currently very aware of the need to make a Will for their physical assets such as their property and finances however they are failing to make provisions for their digital assets. Although your digital assets may not have a significant financial value, they may have a lot of sentimental value to your loved ones- especially if they contain photographs.

Presently, each social media page will have their own policy on what will happen to your accounts once you have died, should you not have made provisions of your own.

For more information on Wills or to arrange an appointment, please call a member of our legal team on 01722 412 000.

Our contributor

Kirsty Gazzard

Wills and Probate Executive

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