In­clude on­line ac­counts in Will

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - ALAN KNOWSLEY LE­GAL MAT­TERS

It is al­ways a good time to think about how your be­long­ings are pro­tected, in­clud­ing set­ting up a Will or up­dat­ing your ex­ist­ing Will.

Wills com­monly make pro­vi­sion for fam­ily and friends, deal­ing with as­sets such as real es­tate, shares, bank ac­counts, fam­ily heir­looms, ve­hi­cles, fur­ni­ture, and art­work. How­ever, peo­ple of­ten over­look how they want their dig­i­tal as­sets dealt with after they pass away.

Dig­i­tal as­sets can in­clude things such as iTunes and Spo­tify ac­counts, Air­points, Fly­buys and other loy­alty pro­grammes, Linked In, Cloud stor­age, Face­book, email ac­counts and other dig­i­tal cor­re­spon­dence such as Skype. Some of these dig­i­tal as­sets can have sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial worth, which you may want to trans­fer to an­other owner after your death.

Many will have huge sen­ti­men­tal value to your loved ones, such as your pho­tos and mes­sages.

It is im­por­tant to iden­tify your dig­i­tal as­sets and plan for how you want them to be dealt with.

On­line providers have their own poli­cies about what hap­pens to their con­tent once the user dies.

Your rights to your dig­i­tal as­sets will vary from provider to provider, but in most cases you will be able to de­cide whether your ac­counts should be deleted, memo­ri­alised, trans­ferred or gifted to some­one else.

In a re­cent case, a woman re­alised after her hus­band’s death that she did not have ac­cess to their Ap­ple ac­count. A sim­ple pass­word re­set was not suf­fi­cient, and in­stead the woman was faced with a lengthy bat­tle, in­clud­ing the need for a court or­der, to get a new pass­word with­out los­ing all the in­for­ma­tion that was linked to the ac­count.

Make sure you have an up to date Will which deals with your dig­i­tal as­sets, so that after you’re gone your fam­ily and friends are not left won­der­ing what to do with the im­por­tant con­tent of your on­line ac­counts, or faced with dif­fi­cul­ties in deal­ing with the as­sets.

Funds held in Ki­wiSaver and su­per­an­nu­a­tion schemes are an as­set that many peo­ple dis­re­gard or for­get about when eval­u­at­ing their fi­nances. How­ever, as time goes on and you ac­cu­mu­late a much larger bal­ance, a Ki­wiSaver or su­per­an­nu­a­tion ac­count may be­come one of your most valu­able as­sets.

Many peo­ple are not aware that if their Ki­wiSaver or

‘‘It is im­por­tant to iden­tify your dig­i­tal as­sets and plan for how you want them to be dealt with.’’

su­per­an­nu­a­tion bal­ance is more than $15,000 at the time of their death, their scheme provider will not re­lease the funds un­til the Court has granted ad­min­is­tra­tion of their es­tate. Ob­tain­ing this grant of ad­min­is­tra­tion is usu­ally straight­for­ward if you have a valid Will in place when you die.

How­ever, it can be com­plex, lengthy, and stress­ful for your loved ones, if you die with­out one. If you are a mem­ber of Ki­wiSaver or a su­per­an­nu­a­tion scheme, you should have a valid and up to date Will that pro­vides for how your com­plete es­tate will be dis­trib­uted.

This will en­sure that the funds can be paid to your es­tate when you die, with­out any un­rea­son­able de­lays or ex­penses for your loved ones. If you do not have a Will or need to up­date your ex­ist­ing Will get pro­fes­sional ad­vice about what you need to put in yours.

If you have a le­gal in­quiry you would like dis­cussed in this col­umn please email Alan on aknowsley@rain­ey­collins.co.nz

Col­umn cour­tesy of Rainey Collins Lawyers phone 0800 733 484 or rain­ey­collins.co.nz

Es­tate plan­ning should in­clude what to do with your on­line as­sets.

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