The New Year is a good time to think about how your belongings are protected, including making 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, Cloud storage, social media accounts such as Instagram and 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 in your Will.  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 overseas case, a woman realised after her husband’s death that she did not have access to their Apple account password.  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. 

Ensure that when you are making a Will, it deals with your digital assets, so that 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, after you are gone.