You cannot seem to turn on the news these days without seeing the latest trends in crypto currency. Whether it is the latest over night millionaire who invested in an online currency the rest of us hadn’t heard of in the year 2000 or the poor soul who has lost their password to their online account and simply does not have access to their millions.
Clients with digital assets are on the increase and provision needs to be made for these assets in their Wills. Unfortunately for solicitors working in Wills and Probate we are still working from the Wills Act of 1837 and dragging the lawmakers into the 21st century has proved to be quite a challenge.
As it is currently stands there is no one size fits all for online currency and digital assets therefore it is vital that if you have a digital assets portfolio you speak to a solicitor who is able to provide you with the best advice. Whilst there is not a current statutory definition for digital assets it is generally understood that they would cover everything from crypto currency to digital artwork and social media platforms.
Many people will fall into the trap of believing that their current Will covers their digital assets as most Wills include a personal possessions clause. However it is possible that digital assets do not fall into the requisite definition as they are not ‘tangible’, this would be especially relevant when dealing with online creative works or the new wave of non-fungible tokens.
The way in which you choose to deal with your digital assets is as personal as the way you wish to deal with you physical property. It may be appropriate for your circumstances to include a Clause which leaves your digital assets to a chosen beneficiary or to leave your digital assets at your Executors discretion. A key thing to remember when dealing with digital assets is just because you have left your iPad to your brother does not mean you have left him all of the family photos which are stored on your iPad! It also may be the case that you do not own your digital assets at all and instead have a license to use them during your lifetime. Sadly for the avid gamers out there the currency which is collected in a game is often not transferable after your death so all those hours become lost!
The real risk when it comes to digital assets is that by not leaving a list of assets which you consider to be of sentimental or monetary value is that they become lost or inaccessible due to a lack of passwords. It is therefore essential a hard copy of passwords and an inventory of digital assets is stored with your Will to make the administration of your digital Estate as smooth as possible.