2nd NOVEMBER 2020
When making a will, most people will consider which assets they wish to leave to their respective beneficiaries. Money, jewellery and cars are just some of the many items that people will specifically refer to in a will. But what about digital assets?
A digital asset can take many forms and it doesn’t just apply to an online-only bank account or investments that you may have. The more sophisticated digital assets include virtual currencies such as Bitcoin which are becoming increasingly popular, but they also cover more obscure assets such as reward cards and Air Miles. It is possible to accumulate significant value in these accounts over the years but not many people are aware if they are able to pass those rewards onto their beneficiaries.
It is currently still a grey but evolving area. Different companies will have different policies regarding your ability to pass ‘rewards’ on death and these will often be contained within the terms and conditions that you would have signed before you were able to open the account. It is always worth checking with these companies to see what their policy is and whether you can expressly nominate a beneficiary to take ownership of any rewards accumulated when you pass away.
Other digital assets include social media accounts (where you may have uploaded pictures) as well as e-music and e-books where you may have accumulated a large collection of music, films or books and arguably those collections could be construed as having a value. Transferring ownership of such collections will be at the discretion of the provider. Companies such as Facebook now allow you to nominate a legacy contact – who will be able to either close or memorialise your account when you pass away as well as allowing access to pictures and videos that have been uploaded. It is well worth doing this as it can be distressing to your family to still see an active account but have no way in dealing with it.