I am sure that I will be writing more about this in the future, but for the present I will just briefly mention the idea of an “online Will”.
This is something of a misdescription; what the term refers to is the several online facilities that have sprung up over the last year or so which deal with the problem of how to access digital assets/accounts when you die.
The problem itself is completely obvious – how does your executor access what may be a very great number of online services so as to simply advise of your death, or to access an account to retrieve an asset?
How does your executor even know what online presence you have?
It is impractical to incorporate all of this information into a Will. Changes are made too often, and it is too expensive and inconvenient to be constantly changing your Will. However, you could make reference in your Will to a resource which contains all of this information; and your solicitor could be made aware, and given the capacity/authority, to access this information.
The site allows a user to record all online assets, passwords, etc.. And allows the user to continuously update this information as and when required. It also sets up protocols whereby a trusted family member (executor) or a lawyer can access the information upon the death or incapacity of that person.
It is worth having a look at this site to get an idea of one way in which this problem is being addressed.
Whether this is the way of the future is yet to be seen. Nevertheless, the problem is a real one and there is little doubt that we will see more attempts to address the problem as the digital age progresses. Watch this space!