Remember to consider your digital legacy when making a will, urges STEP

Monday, 17 August 2020

STEP, the global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning, today urges families to think about their digital legacies and make provision for non-physical assets in their will.

In just a few short years, digital assets have become fundamental to many aspects of our lives but many of us neglect to plan for them appropriately. From sentimental items you want to pass on like digital photos and social media content; to highly private information like confidential emails, passwords and medical records, these items are now just as important to our lives and identities as traditional non-virtual assets.

Family members need to manage loved ones’ affairs after their death so must have access to financial and other information stored on computers and online cloud services. But they may not even know about all the accounts that exist, let alone have access. Rather than leaving them guessing at passwords, STEP recommends taking a number of measures so that control can be handed over when the time comes.

  • Make a detailed inventory of your digital assets – cloud files, shopping accounts, storage drives, online identities – so your executor knows where to find them.
  • Appoint a representative - someone you can trust if you lose mental capacity or die.
  • Tell them what you want to do and achieve, and make sure they know how to access your accounts and passwords.

Emily Deane TEP, Technical Counsel at STEP, says: ‘Having so much of our identities online is something most don’t give a second thought to. But over our lifetimes we now generate huge amounts of valuable, private and sentimental data that should be at the forefront of our minds when we are planning for the future. STEP urges families to take action now and give thought to their digital legacies. There are a number of steps people can take to ensure their important and cherished digital information remains secure and in the right hands when the time comes.’

Contact details

For more information, or to request an interview with Emily Deane, please contact:

Notes to Editors

A list of digital assets includes but is not limited to the below. Full advice can be found on the STEP website here.

  • Financial information;
  • E-mail, contacts and calendar;
  • Social media accounts and data;
  • Personal and sentimental items like photos, videos and purchased media;
  • Digital items that may have a value, now or in the future;
  • Hardware that requires passwords or codes, eg phones, tablets;
  • Passwords;
  • Cryptocurrencies.

About STEP 

STEP is the global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning. STEP works to improve public understanding of the issues families face in this area and promotes education and high professional standards among its members. STEP members help families plan for their futures, from drafting wills to issues surrounding international families, protection of the vulnerable, family businesses and philanthropic giving. Full STEP members, known as TEPs, are internationally recognised as experts in their field, with proven qualifications and experience.