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Have you thought about your digital legacy?

The Law Society has recently published an article urging people to leave clear instructions about what they would like to happen to their social media and other online accounts after their death.

You may have personal or sensitive information stored digitally, such as photographs and other media, which you would want your family and friends to be able to access and save. You therefore need to leave clear instructions about what should happen to your digital media after your death.

Preparing an up-to-date list of all your online accounts will make it easier for the Personal Representatives of your estate to piece together your digital legacy and carry out your wishes. Only you have this information, and you cannot assume that the people dealing with your estate will know where to find it.

It is sufficient to make a list of your digital assets and keep it up-to-date over time. It is not recommended to leave a list of PIN codes and passwords because it may be a criminal offence for your Personal Representatives to access your online accounts with these details.

Digital assets can include social media accounts, email accounts, music, films, photographs and computer game characters. Online bank accounts will also need to be dealt with by your Personal Representatives, so make sure that your list includes these too. Also include on your list websites such as online shops, professional directories and any other general websites you have signed up to (however trivial they may seem).

It is advisable to store your list of digital assets with your personal papers, or with your Will (if you have one).  Making a valid Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes will be adhered to on your death. A professionally drafted Will can refer to a separate Letter of Wishes, which contains your wishes regarding personal items. Your list of digital assets can be incorporated into your Letter of Wishes and this will ensure your Personal Representatives have the information they need, when they need it. Your wishes may change over time, and your Letter of Wishes can then be updated without the need for your Will to be formally amended.