Welcome to the new column where you get to ask those questions of a lawyer that you always wanted to but were not brave enough to. Each issue one question from the ones you send in will be selected and answered.
It’s summer holidays and I bet you are happily snapping away with family photos.
But what happens to those photos when you die. Have you ever thought about your digital assets?
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. Let’s not forget Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies that don’t have certificates so if they are not in your Will no one will know.
Digital assets cover a wide range of property including:
• Frequent flyer points
• Domain names
• Blogs
• Paypal accounts
• E-bay accounts
• Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube
• Online gaming accounts
• Digital Music
• Photos
• E-books
• Blogs
• Movies

How to protect them:

1 – 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.
2 – A record of usernames, passwords and security questions should be created and kept in a document separate to your will to be provided to your digital executor that you can name in 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!
3 – 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.
4 – 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 practicing 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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