Inheritance lawyers are cautioning that a substantial number of individuals are neglecting to address their digital assets when drafting a will.
Melinda Rice, a senior associate at mfg Solicitors, has observed a growing trend of people being unaware of the significance of including digital assets in their future planning. These digital assets encompass a wide range, including online bank accounts, pensions, shares, PayPal, and Amazon accounts.
Additionally, personal platforms like Instagram and Facebook, holding cherished photographs and memories, fall under this category. Rice emphasises the lack of awareness in the UK regarding the role digital assets play in will creation, noting that it has become a more pressing issue with the aging population increasingly relying on online accounts for financial matters and preserving memories. Rice said:
“It’s becoming more of an issue as the population lives longer and many use online accounts for their finances and saving photos etc. I have found it’s certainly not something people think about when they put pen to paper.”
Stressing the importance of considering digital assets as integral to an estate, akin to physical assets, she highlights the potential financial value or sentimental significance these accounts may hold. She added:
“Any digital assets that are not specifically mentioned in a will are considered part of the residuary estate and therefore pass to whichever beneficiary is entitled to the inheritance.”
With an increasing number of individuals seeking legal advice on digital assets, she underscores that there are still thousands who remain unaware of their role in will drafting.