Your digital assets after you’ve gone - will they matter?
Digital assets - what are they?
Hands up if you have an online presence. Well, seeing as you’re reading this online, I guess that’s around 100% of you with your hands up! Statistics show that the UK is moving inexorably towards that figure. According to the Office of National Statistics, over 90% of households are now online. And that number is growing each year. Will it ever reach 100%? Perhaps not - but we don’t need government figures to remind us of the massive part that the digital universe plays in our lives. But what of Digital Assets? What are they? And do they matter, once we’re no longer of this world?
Digital assets - what are they?
Digital assets are anything that you manage or store on your tablet, smartphone, PC or in the cloud. Imagine what this could include. All or any of the following -
Emails, medical records, bank accounts, social media, games, videos, films, e-books, blogs, photos.
They all have a value - financial or sentimental. Many are potentially just as precious as tangible assets. Increasingly, digital assets form an important part of people’s legacy. Don’t take them lightly. They matter. They should be part of your planning for when you die or lose mental capacity.
Why do digital assets matter?
They can have financial value - As you’d expect, bank accounts, bitcoin accounts, PayPal, and online gaming accounts - all these have financial value. But what about certain photographs or images? Online businesses, domain names too. All have potential value.
Sentimental value - All those family photos and videos, even family archives. If you’re the only one with the necessary access information, and you die or lose mental capacity, they could be lost forever. Imagine how upsetting that could be for your loved ones.
Privacy & Confidentiality - There may well be information stored online that you wish to disappear with you into the ether. This could include email or Facebook accounts that might expose the existence of secret relationships or interests. Think of the hurt or harm that could result if these became widely known.
ID theft - Every minute of every day, more than twenty people have their identity stolen. When you’re no longer able to monitor the use of your digital assets, your identity becomes ever more vulnerable to theft.
Planning your digital legacy - what steps should you take?
1. Appoint a representative - executor, solicitor, guardian - someone you can trust.
2. Just as you might with your physical assets, make a list of those digital assets that you wish to be passed on or preserved. Make sure your representative knows where to find the details of these assets and how to access them - usernames and passwords.
3. Tell your representative what you want to do with these assets. Be precise.
4. Be sure that the terms of service of the provider for each of your digital assets allow someone to act on your behalf.
The world of digital assets can be complex. But there are plenty of helpful online resources. You’ll find useful guidelines at the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP) - STEP Digital Assets
Here at Adept Asset Solutions, we’re perfectly placed to help you too.
Call on 01234 713021 or drop me an email. I’d welcome the chance to talk you through the minefield that is digital assets.