Leaving a digital legacy

Wills

In as little as two years (from 2012 to 2014), the public have produced more data than in all of human civilisation before that and it is still increasing at an exponential rate. While digital assets can take many forms such as online photos, subscriptions, music libraries, social network profiles, savings accounts or email accounts – the majority of us do not have physical records of them. It is therefore not clear what our digital presences will look like in years to come, but we can be certain that an ever-increasing number of people will be creating and accumulating more and more data until they pass away.

A YouGov Survey, published in November 2018, revealed that 67% of respondents wanted their social media accounts taken offline after their death and only 7% wanted them to remain online.

Recently, Gerald Cotten died unexpectedly at the age of 30. Gerald was the Chief Executive Officer of QuadrigaCX; a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange platform. According to court documents, he had sole access to the digital wallets containing more than 180million Canadian dollars (£105million) belonging to the company’s 115,000 customers. His death has resulted in QuadrigaCX being unable to pay their customers. This case highlights the extreme consequences of not leaving suitable arrangements for the recovery of cryptocurrency.

There are potential difficulties when trying to leave digital assets to loved ones as it’s a relatively new phenomenon, however, the issue becomes more common as we enter the age of digital innovation. We now recommend our clients complete and maintain a Digital Asset Memorandum. The log includes a record of your digital assets to assist your executors and let them know where the passwords can be located.

Are your last wishes up to date? Speak to us about updating your Will and putting in place a digital asset log on 0121 445 5874 or email us at info@nullsuejendenassociates.co.uk.

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