Over the past few years our digital lives have become an indispensable part of our everyday routine for the vast majority of us. This is impacting us in all walks of life and from our perspective we have seen a growing trend in client’s asking us for our advice on how they should be dealing with and managing their “digital assets”.
The term digital assets is wide ranging and captures, amongst other things, your photos, videos, music collections, social network profiles, email accounts, online gaming/gambling accounts and virtual bank accounts. The digital records that people leave behind can be just as important as physical assets and can have a substantial monetary value and sentimental value.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a uniform set of rules which deals with the succession of such assets and there are number of issues with certain digital assets including ownership and use as well as access and privacy which can complicate matters. Whilst specific advice will be required for certain assets as law varies dependent on service agreements and geographical locations we have put together what we feel are the key steps that should be taken to help provide the best protection for your digital assets:
- Keep an inventory of your digital assets including accounts and usernames and regularly keep this up to date.
- Passwords should be stored carefully bearing in mind that in some cases it is against the Terms and Conditions of an account to share the password with someone else.
- Given the frequent difficulties people have had with recovering digital records from cloud services, such as Facebook, we also recommend that digital records should be regularly downloaded and saved using a device’s local memory or external hard drives.
- Prepare a letter of wishes with instructions to your executors about your digital records and how you would like them to be dealt with. The can help identify important documents (such as photographs) that you would particular people to have access to.
For further information please contact Adam Woodhouse.