One in eight adults to leave digital assets in their will

Just 12% of adults have included at least one digital asset as part of their will, despite 95% owning some form of digital asset, Canada Life has found.

Digital assets include physical devices such as a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, as well as soft assets such as photos, subscriptions and social media accounts.

Research by the insurance and financial services firm has shown that just half (49%) of UK adults have a will.

Nearly all (92%) of adults aged 55 and over have a smartphone, laptop or tablet. However, just 7% have included their device in their will.

More than two-thirds (69%) of adults have a social media account or profile, yet just 9% have included it in their will, while one in 10 (9%) have bitcoin cryptocurrencies, with most adding it to their will (6%).

Young adults aged 18-34 are more likely to include their eBooks and photos and videos stored on an electronic device in their will (33%).

However, over a third (37%) have not considered their digital assets when drafting their will, with 29% of UK adults not believing that these assets are valuable enough to include in their will.

Others have said they don’t worry about what happens to their digital assets (21%) and have left it to someone else to take care of (4%) or have left instructions or passwords (19%).

Technical manager for tax, trusts and estate planning at Canada Life, Stacey Love, said: "For those with a will, it’s important to review it every so often so you can check that it still reflects your wishes. You may have made it some time ago, and circumstances could have changed since. The prevalence of digital asset ownership for example.

"On the surface, it may seem as though digital assets do not have ‘value’, and as such may not need to be included in a will. It’s important to remember though that data is the new currency, and some assets such as digital photos will be priceless to family members.

"The most important thing is to make a will in the first place if you don’t have one. March is free wills month, and many organisations offer a writing service for free. Make sure you take stock of all digital assets as well as your physical assets as part of this."

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