People should leave clear instructions about what should happen to their online accounts, computer games and social media pages after their death, the Law Society is warning.
Making a complete list of your online accounts such as email, banking, investments and social networking sites will make it easier for family members to piece together your digital legacy, adhere to your wishes and could save time and money. By not making your digital legacy clear, important or sentimental material – such as photographs on social networks – might never recovered. Digital assets also include music, films, email accounts and computer game characters.
Gary Rycroft, a member of the Law Society Wills and Equity Committee, said people should not assume family members know where to look online and to make details of their digital life absolutely clear.
“If you have a Twitter account, your family may want it deactivated and – if you have left clear instructions – it will be easier for your executors to have it closed,” he said.
“If you have an online bank account, your executors will be able to close it down and claim the money on behalf of your estate.
“This is recognised in The Law Society Wills & Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) Protocol which recommends completion and maintenance of a Personal Assets Log including digital assets and consideration of how to ensure that those dealing with the estate will be able to access those assets.”
Law Society president, Nicholas Fluck, said that the way information is stored has changed as technology has evolved.
“Simple things such as photographs, which in the past we could have flicked through in a printed album, are now stored online,” he said. “By making our wishes clear now, it will be easier for loved ones to recover pictures to cherish and will help with the more practical issues such as online bank accounts.”
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