Personal Finance

Warning as ‘priceless’ asset missed off majority of wills

Britons are being urged to check their wills after it emerged the majority of people are leaving some key assets unprotected.

Retirement experts Canada Life found less than half of UK adults (49%) have written a willand only 12% of those include a digital asset.

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

While some believe there is no value in their digital assets, and others are not worried about what happens to them, Canada Life is reminding Britons "data is the new currency" and sentimental items like photographs can be priceless to relatives.

Research showed that despite 92% of those over 55 having a smartphone, only 7% have included it in their will.

More than two thirds of the 2,000 adults questioned (69%) have a social media account, but only 9% of people have expressed their wishes for it in their will.

Just under a fifth (19%) have left instructions and passwords for loved ones to be able to access their accounts.

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

About a third of people questioned (37%) never considered their digital assets when drafting their will, while 29% don't think they're worth enough to bother.

Stacey Love, manager in Canada Life's estate planning team, 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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Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.


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