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A Digital Life in Death or Incapacity

A Digital Life in Death or Incapacity

28th September 2018

It is estimated that each month, 15 million Australians post on their Facebook accounts, 3 million comment on Twitter, 9 million share pictures on Instagram, 4 million use Snapchat, 2.7 million search for the love of their lives on Tinder, while 4.2 million Australians look to extend their business networks on LinkedIn.

Whilst there is no denying that Australians love their social media, it is almost as certain that most Australians have not discussed their digital life with their loved ones, including what is to happen in the event of their death or incapacity.

What are “Digital Assets”?

Social media is, however, only a portion of digital materials making up our modern “digital assets”. There is no recognised legal definition at present for what constitutes a “digital asset”.  It could be argued, however, that digital assets can be divided into four (4) main categories:

  • Communication
  • Financial
  • Media
  • Social

Some digital assets hold little more than sentimental comfort for family members after the loss of a loved one. However, other digital assets have significant financial value, such as Bitcoin, online or virtual businesses, domain names, or PayPal accounts containing deposited funds.

There is no legislation governing digital assets in Australia. Following a death, families do not have a legislated right to access or own the “online” life of their loved one.  If the deceased family member’s login and password details are unknown, the digital assets can remain permanently or indefinitely locked away.

Dealing with Your Digital Death or Incapacity

STEP 1:            Identify your digital assets

STEP 2:            Make a list of usernames, passwords, and answers to secret questions

STEP 3:            Regularly back up digital assets stored on the Cloud

STEP 4:            Contact Rapid Legal Solutions to determine which digital assets are transferrable

STEP 5:            Decide what is to happen to each digital asset

STEP 6:            Contact Rapid Legal Solutions to update your Will and Enduring Power of Attorney