Digital Assets and Social Media

Digital Assets and Social Media- What happens when I die

More than one billion people are active on Facebook with younger people being more likely to have several different social media accounts. Social media is a part of our lives and many of us spend hours uploading photos and chatting with friends and family. Without instructions your family will not know how you would like these accounts to be dealt with should the worst happen, and they could have problems accessing your accounts and personal photos. This could mean that precious family photos and memories end up being lost.

‘Digital Assets’ is an umbrella term that can cover many different online or digital aspects such as videos, sound recordings, photographs, media files, rights and royalties. The expression can also pertain to the digital property rights and interests associated with digital records. A Digital Asset can have physical value or just sentimental value. Below is a quick rundown of how you can prepare your Digital Assets as well as some information about how your digital accounts will be dealt with.

Facebook

Facebook allows the capability to be managed “beyond the grave” subject to a few decisions having been made. There are three options available to the Facebook user

  1. Memorialisation
  2. Deletion
  3. Appointment of a legacy contact

Google Accounts

Appoint a trusted contact and the trusted contact can download and manage data.

LinkedIn

At present under the terms and conditions of LinkedIn accounts are non-transferable. Following a death, the Executor or Administrator of the estate must contact LinkedIn and provide them with the following information:

  1. The deceased’s name and date of death
  2. The email address that the deceased’s account was registered with LinkedIn
  3. A link to a copy of the obituary of the deceased

The account will then be closed by LinkedIn.

PayPal

As these accounts usually contain capital the account must be properly dealt with and funds transferred to the right people. PayPal will release a balance of less than £5,000.00 to an Executor provided they have signed an indemnity form.

If balances exceed this threshold then the process of securing funds is similar to how a bank would operate and PayPal will require the production of a Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration.

It is also worth mentioning the PayPal may charge a £40.00 administration fee to the estate to transfer the funds.

Apple and Amazon

Both Apple and Amazon grant non-transferable licences to their users to use the content on their platforms. This means that I-Tunes and Kindle libraries are non transferable to third parties. So, there may be some benefit to having a few CD’s and paperbacks after all.

How to Prepare Digital Assets

We would recommend making a list of all your digital accounts and make a record of what you would like to happen to these assets post death. You do not have to disclose the account passwords to an Executor or Administrator and it is important to understand that even if you have given them the detail, Executors and Administrator’s do not have the legal authority to access your accounts post death. They must always go through the account provider to gain access.

For safety reasons you should never disclose confidential online banking or financial details to other parties. Else Solicitors can assist you to prepare a letter of wish detailing how you would like these assets to be dealt with. Specific clauses can also be drafted into the will to reference certain accounts.

Else Solicitors is a company with vast experience in dealing with Private Client matters. To discuss how we can help you make a Will dealing with digital assets, please contact Kathryn Caple or Imogen D’Arcy on 01283 526230 or email kathryn.caple@elselaw.co.uk.

 

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