As solicitors we are always advising our clients to make a will. A will governs what happens your assets after your death. Traditionally assets comprised of bricks and mortar and monies in bank accounts and post offices accounts. However in the 21st century not only are our assets in property and bank accounts but also are assets are held virtually such as cryptocurrency, our data and information on social media sites, and even our google photos.
In a recent case on which our office advised, the deceased died unexpectedly and the legal personal representative was trying to gather details of the assets held by the deceased. As is very common these days, all the deceased’s banking was done online, and he also held some online bank account with the likes of Revolut. His passcode and passwords were not known and it was not possible to assess his phone and laptop to get the details. The legal personal representative was seeking advice from the solicitor on how to proceed.
All this stress and additional work can be avoided if when making a will you appoint a digital executor who will be responsible for closing, memorialising or managing your accounts, along with sharing or deleting digital assets such as photos and videos. This role is an extension of the existing role of a traditional executor. This person can be furnished on your death all user details and passwords for all your accounts. A digital estate plan can be stored with your original last will.
Some practical tips to avoid the difficultly mentioned above is to
a. Start by writing a list that includes your online accounts’ basic details, including the name of the account, website, and your username or account ID.
b. Detail the password for your lap top and phone in a secure place and that your executor is informed of this location. Remember though if you update your password to update the hard copy note too.!
c. You could include a list of your digital accounts and what you would like done with these in a “letter of wishes” to be stored alongside your will.
d. It is worth backing up cherished photos or videos on a hard drive and telling one of your executors where this is located.
Social Media sites – each website has their own way of doing things.
a. Facebook enables you to appoint a Legacy Contact. For example in Facebook by searching for “Memorialization Settings” in the setting section, you can appoint a Legacy contact ( you should inform that person though before selecting them! ) This will allow the contact to close down or access your social media account after your death.
b. Apple allows you to name one or more people as legacy contacts, who are able to access your account after your death. Your chosen contact is able to request access using the access key generated when you added them as a legacy contact and your death certificate. They will then have three years to view photos, messages and any other information and to decide what happens to them.
c. Google has a feature that confirms when an account should be considered inactive (between three and 18 months), after which up to 10 people may be notified and receive your messages and emails.
If you have monies held in Cryptocurrency then it is essential that a letter of consent is held with your will, detailing all relevant website and codes that are necessary to access the said funds.
If you wish to discuss any of the above with us, do not hesitate to contact one of our solicitors in either Cahir or Cashel and we can help you