How safe are your digital memories?

8th August 2019

In an increasingly digital world, have you ever thought about what would happen to your photos, music or even your social media accounts when you die? 

If not, you are not alone, the vast majority of people won’t keep records of such assets, let alone have considered whether or how they can pass them on when they die.

Digital assets take many forms and can include:

  • Online photos
  • Virtual currency
  • Music libraries
  • Digital media accounts (iTunes, Google Play & Amazon Kindle)
  • Email accounts
  • Social network profiles

Whether or not you can even pass such assets on to your beneficiaries will depend on whether you own them, or simply use the content.

  • Whilst you may have created some content which remains your property, other content is acquired or used under a licence agreement which will often end on death and cannot be passed on (e.g. MP3 files, movies and eBooks)
  • Some online sites may stipulate that they own the content you upload, so it is worth checking to see if this is the case in order to ensure you can pass it on to loved ones.
  • You may own photos and songs stored on your own devices, but if this is the case how easily could your executors access the content?

What should you be doing?

  • Digital assets form part of your estate and it is therefore important to leave clear instructions to your executors about what should happen to these assets when you die
  • Think about who should have access to your social media accounts and whether you would want them closed down or memorialised
  • Think about what would happen to digital assets with sentimental value - will your content be deleted, locked or lost?  Digital assets with sentimental value are often the hardest to pass on. Take steps to back up or create hard copies or backup copies of items you want your beneficiaries to access after your death.
  • Consider making a digital directory of your online assets and social media accounts
  • You could consider keeping a list of logins and passwords to be kept securely and confidentially, perhaps with your Will if you have one.
  • Consider whether there is any confidential or sensitive information stored on your devices or emails, which if accessed by your family could cause distress or embarrassment.
  • Note details of public and private keys held for any crypto currencies in any digital wallets and arrange for the details to be stored securely

Whilst the ownership and security of digital assets such as music and images you possess may not have occurred to you, this article may help you to think about how you would want to secure those assets for your loved ones.

Contact us

If you want to have a completely no obligation chat, please call Olivia Down, Senior Tax Manager, on 01392 448859.


Keep up to date

Key contacts

Useful downloads

Related insights