What happens to your digital assets if you die?

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You must record your Digital Assets in case something happens!

Digital assets are becoming a bigger and much more important percentage of peoples’ personal wealth or estate. The average person now has over £30,000 ($50,000) worth of digital assets. Could you access your partner’s assets if they died?

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Lexikin – Our digital archive, online Wills and executor platform is the simplest and cheapest way of managing your digital legacy, leaving wishes for loved ones and carrying out effective estate planning alongside our professional partners.

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Digital assets are pretty easy to organise when you are alive, but they can be a nightmare if you lose a password or if you die. This is partly because the giant technology companies that you deal with do not want to talk to you – when was the last time you spoke to somebody at Google, Amazon or Netflix? The other reason is these companies don’t actually want you to transfer the ownership of your assets – they want people to buy them again!

Remember that when you click ‘BUY’ on many digital sites, you are actually clicking ‘RENT’ as the complicated T&Cs are designed so you are licensing rather than owning them outright. With some simple steps though, you can make sure you never lose them – and you can transfer them.

Categories: Assets can be broadly split into 3 categories:

  • Digital Assets: include your music, films, box sets, e-books, photos, crypto currencies, reward cards, vouchers and business IP
  • Personal Assets: your property, antiques, art, boats, coins, electronics, musical instruments, jewellery, precious metals, tapestries, vehicles, wine and chattels in your house (e.g. furniture, curtains, gadgets, kitchen appliances)
  • Investments: pensions, shares, bonds, trusts, cash, gold, and other real estate such as second homes

Inheritance Tax: most assets with a monetary value can be subject to inheritance tax, but your estate might not be liable to tax, you can gift assets, co-own assets and assets such as photo libraries should not be taxable. We recommend you check whether your estate would be subject to tax with a lawyer who is an expert in family law.

Legal Transfer of Digital Assets: the T&Cs of many digital assets prohibits transfer of ownership. For some industries, like music and their MP3 technologies, it is virtually impossible for the companies to track if you have transferred the asset to somebody. However, some technologies require permission from one of your devices to transfer ownership – if somebody has died, and nobody has access to the deceased person’s smartphone, the asset is therefore virtually impossible to recover – try arguing in court with Apple!

Another important thing to remember is English law (and all the countries whose law is based on English law, e.g. Commonwealth countries) is very different to US state and federal laws. For example, in English law you can gift assets to whoever you choose. The big tech companies have fought ownership rights in US courts but have not made similar challenges in other countries.

The key solution is to record these accounts e.g. your Apple username and ID, so your Executor can access the content, rather than relatives attempting a futile exercise chasing tech companies to unlock your account.

Technology: this checklist summarises the key digital technologies – by storing the account details and passwords of these assets on Lexikin, you and your family should always have access to them, whatever happens.

Cryptocurrencies: the global cryptocurrency market is currently valued between $850-900 billion, with double digit growth expected to continue. There are many problems facing this young industry, with security and regulation proving to be the most difficult for companies, government authorities and individuals to understand. Our one key recommendation is vital – make a record of your account details in Lexikin, because there are too many examples of lost accounts, holding millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency, being lost forever.

Security: Digital Assets have the advantage that as long as you are sensible with your passwords (make sure they are strong and you never share them) they are usually secure, especially the biggest and best known companies.

Record your digital assets securely on Lexikin and you have an effective solution for you and your family in case of fire, theft or death.

For example, Lexikin uses the highest security protocol that all digital companies should follow:

  • 3 key issues for you to ensure: 1) Do not share your password. 2) We encourage clients to use two-factor authentication. 3) Lexikin is designed to allow you and your executors to navigate your estate, but do not record important PIN #s for your investment accounts anywhere.
  • 3 key issues for us to ensure: 1) We do not mine or sell any personal data, which is fully encrypted and securely stored on AWS, the world’s #1 cloud storage platform. 2) Our site is regularly penetration tested by third party, independent experts. 3) We are supported by leading insurance and law firms.

Digital Wills: despite being in a digital age, a lot of the legal world is still paper based. A digital Will is essentially a guide to your digital assets. You still need a paper Will, legally signed and certified to ensure your wishes for your entire estate are carried out. Lexikin is a genuinely unique service – seen as a one stop shop before you drop. You can upload an existing Will, or we can save clients time and money by using our technology to get a professionally drafted Will written by leading law firms.

With digital assets, there are 3 key issues for a Will:

  • Don’t record passwords in a Will, as these are public documents – instead, record the passwords secretly on your Lexikin. When we’ve received a death certificate from your Executor, they will be able to access your passwords confidentially, with your wishes attached.
  • Make sure you do keep your Will up to date
  • By uploading a copy of your Will in Lexikin, your family will know where it is stored

Social Media: we would not describe accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat as digital assets with monetary value, so similar to your utility and mobile phone accounts, we would simply recommend you record the account details confidentially on Lexikin, so that your Executor(s) can close them down appropriately.

Gaming: a growing number of people have significant value locked in, for example World of Warcraft, Minecraft and FIFA game accounts. These gaming companies are often owned by global tech giants like Sony And Microsoft, so they too are unwilling to let you gift your accounts to who you choose.  Instead, if your wish is to pass on the account and their assets, make sure you record the account details for your Executor(s) to manage your desire.

Your Essential Steps to Record your Digital Assets on Lexikin:

  • Record the details of your digital assets in your Lexikin account, so you have a secure inventory in case of fire, theft or death
  • By recording the correct account details and passwords, permissions will not be required from the companies you have already purchased them from.
  • Calculate how much your digital assets are worth – it will probably surprise you!
  • Record the details of your Executor(s) on Lexikin, ensuring your estate can be navigated efficiently and digital assets go to the family beneficiaries that you have chosen, rather than let them be lost forever or returned to the companies you have purchased them from.

Press Coverage: Lexikin has been featured in several articles covering digital assets, including the Financial Times (twice in 2019), The Daily Telegraph, MoneyWeek and The London Evening Standard.

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