willpower

Will Power

finance | By Sydney | Sunday, 28 April 2019

Your digital assets are highly valuable and should be included in your Will. Social media law specialist Katherine Hawes explains your rights.

Mary has recently invested in cryptocurrency and rented a safety deposit box. Mary asks whether she has to update her Will.

The objective of a Will is to set out clearly how you would like your assets to be distributed in the event of your death. This often includes your home, investments, bank balances and family heirlooms. However, have you ever thought about your digital assets?
We live in a day and age where we spend most of our day online and if you work from home, there is an even higher chance that your business is based online. In order to ensure that these digital assets are dealt with in the manner that you wish, you also need to include them in your Will.


What are digital assets?
Digital assets cover a wide range of property including:
• Bitcoin/cryptocurrency
• Frequent flyer points
• Domain names
• Blogs
• PayPal accounts
• E-bay accounts
• Online gaming accounts
• Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Youtube
• Digital Music
• Photos
• E-books
• Blogs
• Movies


Why do you need to protect them?
Your digital assets often hold monetary and sentimental value. For example, you may have thousands of family photos stored in your personal online accounts that you haven’t yet had the chance to print or a website that experiences high traffic and generates income from advertising. You may even have accumulated 100,000 frequent flyer points that are equivalent to free overseas travel.
It is important to consider that in the same way that safety deposit boxes were used to store important documents in the past, online accounts such as iCloud and Dropbox are now used to store digital versions of these files.

How to protect them
First and foremost, it is important to keep an up-to-date list of which accounts you have and what each account entails. This list should be included in your Will.
A record of usernames, passwords and security questions should be created and kept in a separate document to your Will. It is important that they are in a separate document because many people will be entitled to see your will and you do not want them all to have access to your online accounts. When your Will is admitted to probate, it becomes a public document so if your access details are included, anyone could access your accounts.
In your Will, leave specific instructions on how you would like your digital assets dealt with or used after your passing. For example, you may want to keep your blog or Facebook account open as a memorial for two years, and then have it deleted. Or you may want your Instagram photos saved and then have the account deleted.
You can also contact the provider of your online account to find out whether you can assign your interest in something to your beneficiary. For example, you may want to leave your music and E-book collection to your daughter, but the particular provider you use, states in their terms and conditions that your collection is non-transferable. If so, you may be able to leave your username and password to your beneficiary instead, so that they can access your account and collection. 


Katherine Hawes at Castle Hill-based Digital Age Lawyers is a barrister and practising solicitor, business influencer, social entrepreneur and media personality who positively shapes her clients’ business culture. Digital Age Lawyers is differentiated through a primary focus on social media law, policy and compliance which forms a critical aspect of the firm’s commercial law services and education. Contact Digital Age Lawyers on 8858 3211.
This article sponsored by Digital Age Lawyers.

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> tagged katherine hawes, castle hill-based digital age lawyers, digital assets, will

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