Don’t forget digital assets when making a will

New research unveiled today by the Law Society showed just over a quarter of those surveyed knows what happens to their digital assets when they die and why it is important to include them in their will.*

“Technology is a huge part of modern life and our digital assets include everything from photos stored online to online banking and email accounts,” said Law Society of England and Wales president David Greene.

“Photos, social media accounts and emails from loved ones are often just as treasured as physical possessions – and yet very few people understand what happens to their digital assets or why it is important to include them in their will.”

Law Society research shows that just 26% of respondents know what happens to their digital assets after they die – with only 7% saying they fully understand and 19% saying they somewhat understand.

Of those surveyed who have a will, an overwhelming 93% had not included any digital assets in their will.*

“With many social media platforms only created in the last few decades, it is all too easy to overlook your digital assets when making a will,” said David Greene.

“However, this can leave family members unable to access family photos saved on the deceased’s online accounts or close their loved one’s social media accounts.

“It can also leave them unable to access information they might need for probate which is stored on the deceased’s email or online banking accounts.

“Writing a digital will and keeping a clear record of online passwords ensures that your loved ones are able to access your digital assets and are not faced with any additional stresses during probate.

“Our research shows that just 29% of those surveyed have an up-to-date will.* I would encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so to make it their New Year’s resolution to write a will which includes their physical and digital assets.

“A solicitor will be able to advise people on how best to include both their physical and digital assets in their will – ensuring people’s estates are inherited exactly as they wish and preventing a whole raft of problems landing on loved ones when they are grieving.”

Notes to editors

*A Populus survey of more than 1,000 members of the public commissioned by the Law Society asked several questions about whether people had made a will. The survey took place in late June 2020.

For more information on the research, email emma.clarke@lawsociety.org.uk.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Emma Clarke | 0208 049 3743

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