What happens to your online assets when you die?

Traditionally our financial (and other) assets could be quite tangibly tracked and accounted for when we die; there would invariably be a paper-trail that executors could follow to track down, liquidate and distribute ones estate.  As we increasingly run our lives in the virtual world more of our assets exist ‘in the cloud’ and have no specific or easily trackable trace for our executors to find and action.

While there are some assets that can and should be accessed by the executors of your will (like online-only savings accounts) there are some assets (like Kindle Books and iTunes libraries) that cannot be passed to heirs.

One bit of advice given by Nicola Plant (partner at solicitors Pemberton Greenish) gives in a recent FT article is a list of usernames and passwords could be maintained to assist executors in carrying out the wishes outlined in wills.

Wills are legally revoked upon marriage

Did you know that if you live as common law man and wife and write a will, your will become null and void if you decide to get married?

Around one hundred wills were contested in 2012, and that may sound like a low number to you, but it’s twice as many as were challenged in 2010.  There are many reasons a will might be contested in the courts, and some of them are quite surprising – in 2012 the court of appeal ruled that an adopted child would not benefit from his parents’ will because his parents had mistakenly signed each others wills, thereby invalidating them.

Fortunately in the case mentioned above the supreme court overruled the decision, but it does highlight the fact that what might seem like a seemingly small error when writing a will can entirely invalidate it.

A well-drafted professionally written will can save a lot of heartache, but it’s crucial that all wills are kept entirely up to date, otherwise small cracks can form that can cause financial earthquakes.