Have you made provisions for your “digital legacy”?

December 7, 2023

The average person has around 100 passwords for their online accounts. This could include online banking, social media accounts, photo and video storage, and subscriptions such as Netflix. 

With this revelation provided by research from NordPass in mind, have you ever considered what might happen to your “digital legacy” after you pass away? 

While it’s no surprise that our online lives are becoming increasingly complex, a report from Professional Adviser has discovered that 71% of people with a will haven’t referenced this aspect of their affairs at all in their succession plan. 

Read on to discover the risks of not including your digital legacy in your succession plan and how your planner could help you to avoid them. 

Your digital legacy comprises much more than simply online banking

You are likely to have many different types of online accounts, all of which may be important for your beneficiaries to be able to access after your death. 

This could include:

  • File storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive
  • Music accounts such as Spotify or iTunes
  • Online banking and investments
  • Personal photos and videos
  • Social media accounts
  • Store loyalty cards
  • Email accounts
  • Personal blogs
  • Subscriptions
  • Credit cards

If your family is unable to access these accounts after your death, they could lose assets that hold significant financial or sentimental value. 

If your family can’t access your online accounts, your data could be lost

By not including your digital legacy in your succession plan, you risk your family losing access to your online assets. 

If the assets have significant financial value – such as investments, cash savings, or payment platforms that hold credit that belongs to you – the loss could affect your beneficiaries’ inheritance and hinder your executors from being able to implement your wishes. 

For assets that are of sentimental value, such as photos, videos, and social media accounts, your family might lose their only record of important family events or personal histories. 

This could cause considerable distress at an already emotional time. 

Protect your digital legacy by speaking to your financial planner today

The Professional Adviser report suggests that 80% of people who spoke to their planner about their digital legacy said that doing so made the process far less daunting. 

Your planner can help you to decide what you’d like to happen to your digital assets on your death – for example, would you like a specific person to take over ownership or would you like the account to be closed on your death? They can also assist you in creating a clear and helpful document to accompany your will, setting out your wishes as well as instructions about how to access the accounts.

There may be an option to add a “legacy contact” to certain accounts, which can help to speed up the process of organising your affairs after your death. This is something else that your planner can help you with.  

If you think it would be helpful, you could also outsource the management of your digital legacy to your planner, as part of your wider financial plan. This could help to reduce the workload for your executor after your death and give you peace of mind that everything will be dealt with according to your wishes.

It’s sensible to introduce your beneficiaries to your planner so that when the time comes, they know who to go to for support and information. 

Get in touch

Being an expat can sometimes add an extra layer of complexity to your estate planning, since multiple jurisdictions could be at play. If you’d like to learn more about how we can simplify the process and help you to feel confident about your financial future, please speak to us today. 

Either contact your financial planner directly, email us at hello@ascentawealth.com or fill in our online contact form to organise a meeting and we’ll get in touch.