You need to have a digital will and testament. Nobody likes to think about their last will and testament but the reality is that your will is probably the single most important financial document you will ever sign. It is critical that your will also deals with all aspects of your life especially your digital life – your digital life after death. What will happen to your digital assets or digital estate?
This is especially important for those who have valuable digital assets (or intangible assets) in their own name. Digital assets can include intellectual property. Some people have built up significant digital assets but these are owned by legal persons that they own. You don’t need a digital will for those because after your death the legal person lives on – this is what is called perpetual succession. If you do have significant digital assets in your name, the answer might be to transfer (or assign) them to a legal person (like a trust or company) rather than leave them to someone in your digital will.
Action you could take regards a Digital Will
- Determine what digital assets you have by asking us to do an intangible asset audit.
- Transfer or assign your digital assets to a legal person by asking us to draft the necessary documents.
- Deal with your digital world or assets by asking us to include appropriate clauses in your will (or add to it) to create a digital will and testament. It can be dealt with in a similar way to a living will.
- Ensure your estate is dealt with correctly after you die by asking us to draft you a great new last will and testament, which includes your digital will.
The importance of passwords and password managers
Almost every aspect of our lives is either conducted or recorded in the digital realm. Therefore, it is necessary to take account of this in your will with a digital will and testament. We all have passwords for internet banking, finances and social media accounts. An excellent way of keeping track of these passwords is to use a password manager. This password manager stores all your passwords and is unlocked using a master password.
Using a password manager can help you deal with your digital life in your will
This master password needs to be identified in your digital will and testament. A practical way of doing this is to write down the password and store it in a secure place. Your will should then indicate where that secure place is so that when the time comes your digital accounts can be accessed. In the same place, you should also note down your computer access password if your computer access is password protected. You can also provide the executor of your will with the master password and your computer password. By following these steps you can create a digital will and testament.
By storing the password in a secure place that is separate from the will it enables you to change the master password if required but you do not have to amend your will to reflect the change. Simply write down the new password and store it in the same secure place mentioned in the will. Amendments of wills are time-consuming and should be avoided if possible. Your will should be clear and effective in dealing with your estate.
Store the master password in a separate document to your will
A platform for your personal data
Another option is to use a platform like permyssion.