A survey by the cloud computing company Rackspace found that many people have built up valuable collections of music and videos online and they want to be able to pass these on to their loved ones, just as they would with other property and assets.

They also fear that their accounts on bank websites or social media outlets might be hacked into by spammers and online thieves. By recording their internet details in their wills, they can enable their families to take over the online accounts and either manage them or close them down, depending on what is appropriate.

If you already have a will it’s a relatively straightforward procedure to add a codicil referring to computer and online matters.

Of course, while “digital inheritance” is likely to become more of an issue as the internet becomes an ever growing part of our lives, there are also more established reasons for making a will.

A will enables you to lay down exactly how your estate should be divided. If you don’t make a will, your estate will be drawn up in a way determined by law, which means some of it may go to people you would not have chosen and may not even like.

People should also make sure they keep their wills up to date as their circumstances change, particularly through marriage or cohabiting.

Cohabiting couples are particularly at risk if they don’t have wills in place. A surviving partner may find they have no right to continue living in the family home if it is in the deceased partner’s name. The house and much of the estate may go to the deceased’s family rather than the surviving partner.

The best way to avoid these difficulties is to make a will and keep it up to date.

Please contact us about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.

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