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Posted By John Griffin

As part of our general financial planning, we advise our clients to regularly review and update their Wills and to organise Lasting Powers of Attorney. These are standard measures to deal with what happens at the end of a person’s life or if they lose capacity to manage their own affairs.

These days, however, many of us have a further consideration; our digital assets.

Digital assets are those things in life that may be held on a PC/laptop, tablet or smartphone, or online.  As well as the financial records we may think about (accessed securely via websites), there may be those with actual value such as online bank accounts and online business assets.

Sentimental items may include family photos, films, significant email conversations etc and it’s possible that, without giving thought to future planning with these items, no-one else may be able to recover important or treasured memories.

Of course, as we are constantly reminded, security of personal data such as online bank accounts, social media and email accounts remains important, to guard against fraud and identity theft.

The Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP) has established a Working Group to encourage people to make future provision in these areas.

Planning ideas include:

  • Making an inventory list of your digital assets for your Executor/s or Attorney, with details of ‘what’ and where these can be found
  • Appoint a representative-someone you can trust to deal with your affairs (through your Will/Lasting Powers of Attorney)
  • Tell that person what you wish to do and achieve
  • Ensure your representative knows how to access your accounts and passwords
  • Make sure the arrangements you make are effective (i.e. will work in practice) as different online providers have different requirements/ service agreements so there is a need to be specific.

Solicitors with whom we work, especially those with the specialist Trust & Estate Practitioner (TEP) designation, will be familiar with developments around planning your digital assets so, ideally, your legal advisers should be consulted and involved.

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