Millions of people in the UK have made no provision for what happens to their internet accounts ( e.g. Facebook ) and assets when they die.
Those who attempt to do so are being invited by websites to do it in a way that will fail, meaning that friends may be sued
after their death by next of kin for meddling with the accounts. A new service provides an end to such uncertainty.
Not only has it become a tool for the fraudster, a trigger for divorces and a destroyer of state secrecy, but lawyers are beginning to
recognise a new problem with the Internet. Money lying in non-Bank internet accounts, as well as digital assets with a monetary
value (e.g. domain names, websites, designs, blogs, self-composed music, photographs, virtual world items, online businesses,
account balances and revenue streams) becoming lost forever not through hacking or crime but because, on our death, our next of
kin and friends may be unaware, do not have the passwords or, if they are aware, have no right in law, in the absence of a Will, to
If such matters were not complicated enough, legal jurisdictions vie with each other for control and internet service owners offer
confusing and conflicting policies for that final log out. Facebook, for example, allows anybody who claims to be a ‘friend’ to take
control and run your account as a memorial site to you. This can be deeply upsetting for your family.
Graham Ross , a veteran in the field of technology and the law, and anxious as anyone in his sixties of what will happen when he
types his final goodbyes, has thought out a solution – My Digital Executor.
Graham Ross says ” The big risk is family, friends and lawyers dealing with Probate not knowing about these accounts which then
become deleted by default of renewal or, in some cases, through lack of regular login. Valuable and busy websites will go
automatically back on the market for others to buy.”
“There is a way to direct control of these accounts and assets after your death but you must both use the device of a Will and
consider the site’s policy. Informal notes to a friend as offered by some services (eg www.legacylocker.com) have no legal effect (as
their emails concede) and , worse, can lead to the friend being sued by the next of kin or residuary beneficiaries in a Will for losses
resulting from their innocent interference with parts of your estate.”
“There is also the problem of ensuring those to whom you wish to give the accounts having access to your passwords. My Digital
Executor has thought through the problems and created a unique process.”
In law, what we own forms part of our estate. It does not have to be physical. ‘Intellectual Property’ doesn’t have to be particularly
clever but is everything you cannot sit in, or on, or put in a box.
“Not only does the service help people secure their digital estate on their death, but in providing a reason to make a Will, should
help reduce the 30m UK adults who have yet to make one. “
NOTE: Apart from the sentimental value and life record of Facebook accounts and blogs, thousands of people earn money from the
Internet such as by bedroom e-commerce (eBay, Amazon affiliate scheme etc), building up valuable domain names and search engine
optimised, and thus valuable, websites and blogs, uploading photographs to sites that licence them out, having their own music sold
by online record labels, playing virtual games such as World of Warcraft or Second Life where they build up online currency which
can be exchanged for real money, or sell their avatars and game items to speed up the buyers status growth in the game. The
Guinness Book of Records records that, in January 2010 , £228,263.00 was paid in an auction of a virtual space station in a virtual
world (Planet Calypso).
My Digital Executor – www.mydigitalexecutor.co.uk
CONTACT: Graham Ross – 01352 715616 or 07885 728801 or firstname.lastname@example.org