Time To Consider Your Digital Legacy?

After Facebook’s decision to allow users to nominate somebody to “inherit” and manage their profile following their death, pressure is mounting on companies who run Social Media websites to protect the digital legacy of their members.

The Law Society recently issued a statement concerning an individual’s Digital Legacy, in which it urges people to leave clear instructions about what should happen to their social media, digital photographs, computer games and on-line bank accounts after their death.

The possibility of a loved one being faced with emotional reminders of a bereavement through a Social Media account they cannot access is something that could affect us all in time, so Facebook’s decision to add a “legacy contact” feature is expected to see others put procedures in place to protect someone’s Digital Legacy.

According to a recent report; “The problem of managing digital assets following the death of the owner has become increasingly prevalent, as it is a relatively new phenomenon with little precedent. Disputes are far more likely to arise between beneficiaries and the companies that control the digital asset, where there is monetary value attached to the asset, like, for example, a Paypal account. The sentimental value that a Facebook account holds, and its potential to cause grief to loved ones if not properly managed, has been a difficult problem to solve.” However, there are some simple steps we can all put in place, regardless of ‘legacy’ features online.

It is worthwhile being organised and having a list of all your online accounts, such as email, banking, investments and social networking sites lodged with your Will. It will make it easier for family members to piece together your Digital Legacy, adhere to your wishes and could save time and money. Not making your Digital Legacy clear could mean important or sentimental material – such as photographs on social networks – is never recovered.

If you want to find out more information on this subject, or to make a Will that makes provisions for your Digital Legacy, please contact our Private Client Team by calling 020 891 6141 or e-mail p.lawson@srb.co.uk