Tuesday, September 25, 2018
A recent poll found that only half of Canadians have wills and that only one-third of those wills are current. Because of these frightening statistics, it is even less likely that they have included their all-too-important digital assets.
The amount of digital assets that can be attributed to a person can be vast, and maybe larger than they believe because some of them may not be seen as normal "assets." Reward member points, social media log-in information, and email accounts are are designated as digital assets. Then there is the daunting of question on how to distribute them after the owner passes away. If you fail to include explicit instructions it can lead to headaches for your executor or loved ones later on.
Barry Corbin, an estate lawyer with Corbin Estates Law Professional Corp. in Toronto, says lawyers drawing up wills and powers of attorney should encourage clients to take stock of their digital assets and who they want to know about them. Many of these assets are treated differently than other items in a person's estate because they may lack monetary value, but be rich in sentimental value, such as digital family pictures on Facebook or Instagram.
Canadians are sitting on about $16-billion of unredeemed loyalty points, according to Bond Brand Loyalty. Television host and chef Anthony Bourdain brought bequeathing frequent flyer miles to the limelight when he left his considerable collections of miles to his estranged wife earlier this year.
See Brenda Bouw, Don’t Forget About Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan, The Globe and Mail, September 24, 2018.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.