Avoid the digital cemetery
One day Facebook may have more dead “memorialised” members than living ones. Planning for the ownership of digital assets in your will has never been more relevant.
Ownership of digital assets is a difficult legal area as legislation and the social media platforms themselves have struggled to keep up.
While the motivation is often to ensure that photos and precious memories are preserved on social media platforms, don’t make the mistake of assuming digital assets have no value. Digital wallets such as PayPal can have money stored on them, internet domain names can have value and sometimes be sold, and the musings of bloggers can even be a type of intellectual property.
For investors in bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency, what will happen if you die is a big consideration. Cryptocurrency is not regulated in the way that, say, a bank account is, and may not be considered in the estate administration process.
Your estate plan needs to consider digital assets, with instructions left to the executor on locating and accessing these digital assets, to ensure they pass to your beneficiaries.
Anna Hacker, national manager, estate planning, Australian Unity Trustees