Will Your Executor Be Able to Find Your Assets?

Will Your Executor Be Able to Find Your Assets?

As our lives increasingly move to “online digital platforms”, it is becoming more important to help your executor access your “digital assets” after you die. Digital assets include social media accounts, shopping accounts, bank or investment account details, entertainment collections,  gambling accounts, and the like.

Last year the NSW Law Reform Commission released a report into what happens to digital assets after we die. It found that 92% of people do not include details with their will about what they want done with their social media accounts, the passwords to their social media profiles and websites, or details about how their executor could access their passwords, etc.  The result of this is that every year large sums of money and time are lost because people do not consider this aspect of their estate planning.

The Law Reform Commission report has recommended that the government introduces new laws to make it easier for executors to access digital assets. Regardless of whether such laws are passed, there are several things you can do to make life easier for your executor:

  1. Wherever you keep your original will, also keep a sealed envelope containing details identifying the “digital assets” you hold, and the details needed to access them. This envelope can be held securely by us in our safe, only to be opened following your death. It will need to be updated from time to time.
  2. Discuss with family members and your executor what you would like done to your social media accounts after you die. Deleting the profile is one option, however social media platforms are increasingly offering “memorial” settings, to allow the profile to become a permanent memorial.

In any case, if you don’t leave your executor the right information some of your assets may be permanently lost, or at the very least your executors will have to go to some trouble to get access to them.