As our lives increasingly move to online digital platforms, it is becoming more important to help your executor access your “digital assets” after you die.
Digital assets include social media accounts, shopping accounts, bank or investment account details, entertainment collections, gambling accounts, and the like.
In 2020 the NSW Law Reform Commission released its report*, which found that 92% of people do not include details with their Will about what they want done with their social media accounts, the passwords to their social media profiles and websites, or details about how their executor could access their passwords, etc.
The result of this is that every year large sums of money and time are lost because people do not consider this aspect of their estate planning.
The Law Reform Commission report has recommended that the government introduces new laws to make it easier for executors to access digital assets.
The Council of Attorneys-General of every State and Territory as well as the Commonwealth have agreed to pursue national uniform forms in this area. While COVID has delayed this work, progress is being made.
Regardless of when such laws are passed, there are several things you can do to make life easier for your executor:
Wherever you keep your original Will, also keep a sealed envelope containing details identifying the digital assets you hold, as well as a secure mechanism to provide the details needed to access them. It will need to be updated from time to time.
Discuss with family members and your executor what you would like done to your social media accounts after you die.
Deleting the profile is one option, however social media platforms are increasingly offering “memorial” settings, to allow the profile to become a permanent memorial.
In any case, if you don’t leave your executor the right information some of your assets may be permanently lost, or at the very least your executors will have to go to some trouble to get access to them.
Do you need assistance with getting your affairs in order – including your Digital Assets? We can help. Download our free eBook “Protecting your Digital Assets” here.
How we can help you?
An important modern consideration in putting your affairs in order, is to know what happens to your online accounts when you become incapacitated or die.
It is critical that you understand who will be able to access or control your digital assets and all your personal information.
Unless you put steps in place to preserve your digital assets, you risk losing all you have built.
Genders and Partners are the Oldest Law Firm in South Australia. We are a boutique specialist law firm focusing on estate planning and elder law to help clients protect themselves, their family and their assets.
Founded in 1848, we are celebrating our 175th anniversary in 2023 by launching a new integrated suite of estate planning products and services as an add-on to their EstatePlanner Essential Protection Plans.
Find out more by downloading our free eBook “Protecting your Digital Assets” here.
Contact us to learn how to protect yourself, your family and your assets through modern integrated estate planning solutions, by visiting our website today and schedule a free no obligation telephone consultation to find out how they can help you and yours.
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*For over ten years, Rod Genders has been an international thought-leader in the area of law relating to Digital Assets. He has been active in law reform in this area at local, national and international levels. In 2018 the Justice Department of the largest State in Australia (NSW) requested Rod’s assistance in preparing a formal inquiry into what happens to digital assets after we die or lose capacity.
Protecting Your Digital Assets
What will happen to your online accounts, profiles, data, subscriptions and memberships, if you die or become incapacitated?
With data breaches, elder abuse and digitalisation all on the increase, read these important insights from senior Australian specialist lawyer Rod Genders to help protect yourself, your family and your assets.