Everybody knows making a Will is important, however the importance of planning and dealing with your digital assets has been recently highlighted when widow Rachel Thompson went through a long and costly three year legal battle in the County Court to obtain access to her husband’s iPhone after his death.
Rachel’s husband did not leave a Will and under Apple’s terms and conditions accounts are not transferable after death. Apple told Rachel she required a court order to gain access to the thousands of photos her late husband took. The Court granted the order in May 2019 finally giving Rachel access to sentimental family photos stored in the iCloud account.
This case highlights the importance of planning for your digital assets including digital photos/videos, digital music tracks, online bank accounts, social media, emails, online auction accounts, domain names, online gambling accounts, online gaming avatars/lands, online family ancestry databases, blogs, e-books, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
This side of estate planning needs to be considered carefully when making a Will given the vast range and use of digital assets. To avoid such a prolonged and unpleasant way to gain access to digital assets after death, procedures and clear instructions when drafting your Will as to what should happen to your digital assets is key.