Who owns your digital assets when you die is still a long way from being clear. Both lawyers and Internet companies are struggling with how to address this issue. Many of us do not make a Will, and even those that do have not caught up with the need to include something about disposal of our Digital Assets.
Your Digital Assets will undoubtedly include your digital photos, your videos, your emails, your e-books and a whole host of other digital stuff.
Companies trying to address the issues
Many companies, though, are now trying to tackle this problem and some have come up with schemes and processes to make it easier for your wishes to be carried out. Yahoo in Japan has recently announced one, Japan Ending Service, in which it will send loved ones your pre-prepared messages on your demise. On Facebook you can make a Memorialization buy adipex england Request on behalf of the deceased and Google has Inactive Account Manager. Of course this is fraught with problems not least of which is that we don’t currently have a legal way of digitising or warranting death in a way that is fool proof.
The law has still to catch up
The law in the UK remains far from clear and may eventually require legislation to help address these issues. It is inevitable, though, that your Digital Assets will eventually be considered as part of your legacy, just like your physical assets. But until companies who own the services you have subscribed to address these problems, to carry our your wishes, your Executor may find it difficult to override the terms you originally signed up. Indeed with no request it is highly likely that content of accounts that become dormant, will eventually be deleted and lost forever.
It requires some clever planning on the part of lawyers to address these problems and may include putting things in Trust to circumnavigate the licensing issues. However, there is no guarantee that this will work given that a Trust would not actually be an individual.
Of course, for any of this to work, you will have to have made a comprehensive list of all your Digital Assets and how to access them. Not an insubstantial task for many of us. Find out here how to go about making an inventory.
But do you really care anyway?
On the other hand, you may simply not care enough about your collection of Kindle books or iTunes songs to want to pass them on. In the age of subscriptions, rather than ownership, you may put far less value on these assets than perhaps has in the past been placed on a physical collection of books or vinyl records.