Digital assets on death – Memories, content and photographs

Melanie Christodoulou

Senior Associate

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June 16, 2022

Categories Wills and Inheritance

We all spend a lot of time on social media these days, however have you ever stopped to think about what happens to your digital content when you pass away?

What is a digital asset?

Digital assets are things we own but access through a device such as a mobile phone, laptop or tablet. We normally access them via third parties such as Facebook, Netflix and Microsoft to name a few. On these platforms, we keep the following types of information: photographs, blogs, social media statuses and emails.

How do you deal with digital assets on death?

When someone dies, the Personal Representatives have the responsibility to deal with the deceased’s estate – this doesn’t just mean assets of monetary value, but also those of sentimental and memory value. Most third party providers have different terms and conditions as to what happens on the account holder’s death. The most common options are:

  • Terminate the account and delete all information
  • Select someone who will be allowed to access the content for a specific period of time
  • Production of a Grant of Probate to allow access to content
  • Memorialisation of content for a brief time period, after which content will be deleted

It is therefore important to be aware of what happens to your content on your death. Having a conversation with your family about how you wish for the content to be dealt with is a good starting point, given the various options provided above.

In addition to having a discussion, log-in to your digital accounts and update your legacy settings. A good link of how to change your account settings can be found via the STEP website by clicking here >