Some 30 million accounts on Facebook belong to people who have passed away, but grieving families and friends of just 10% of them make use of the social platform's memorialisation process that essentially locks their account.
Meanwhile, less than 60% of people in the UK have written a Will to make sure that those they love will inherit their estate, and the number of people who have put someone in charge of their digital life after death is even smaller. In today's super-connected society, there is much more to consider when it comes to digital assets than just how to deal with the Facebook account of someone we have lost.
During our lifetime we collect photos and home movies and create accounts to log in to social media channels, e-mail, bank websites, gaming hubs and photo sharing and music storage platforms. These online possessions are generally stored in the cloud via a number of Internet service providers. But as providers are yet to facilitate transfers of digital assets and, since this is not the most pressing issue when a person dies, including online possessions in our estate planning is something everyone should consider.
In order to save additional troubles to family in their time of grief, it is worth considering the creation of a secure database in which to store all their online accounts and passwords and specify which files, social network profiles and blog accounts must be closed by the person entrusted with this task. The database should be updated to include any new account you make during your lifetime. You may also consider providing information on how this digital database can be accessed in your Will, to make sure your Executor(s) can find your digital archive.
Kings Court Trust Ltd
DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. This article is merely a general comment on the relevant topic.
Published on 5th September 2013
(Last updated 28th March 2018)