There are increasing concerns amongst Probate professionals in relation to accessing digital assets when dealing with estate administration.
Recent research has discovered problems surrounding property rights to such assets.
Digital assets are not tangible like cash or bank accounts since they exist only in the digital domain, and it is estimated as many as a quarter of all probate clients have had problems trying to locate such assets when dealing with an estate. More and more digital products are being purchased and stored on devices without any clear instructions being left as to how to locate and access them.
Recent headline news involved the death of the owner of the main Canadian cryptocurrency exchange who died suddenly reportedly leaving £145 million of cryptocurrency locked in a digital wallet but only he knew the password.
As such there have been numerous calls to reform this area with clear rules in relation to rights of access for the Personal Representatives of such estates.
Much more work needs to be undertaken by technology providers to provide easy clear access to such digital assets and they need to work with the Legal Profession to ensure this in fact takes place.
The Law Commission for England and Wales is currently reviewing this area of Law in relation to access to digital assets of the deceased and we are hopeful that progress will be made in the near future.
But for now, the best option is to make sure when preparing your Will to include as much information as you can relating to your digital assets and digital portfolio so that they can be easily located after your death.
We are here to provide expert legal advice when drafting your Will to ensure such problems can be avoided in the future.