Data after death
So, what happens to your online accounts when you die? Where possible, you might want to hand them down so that your loved ones can benefit from them, but is this always possible? That depends on the service in question.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you an idea of the distinction between different service providers when it comes to what they do with your all-important data.
Digital finance accounts are, in the grand scheme of things, still fairly new. Questions like ‘does PayPal contribute to the size of my estate?’ are best answered by a legal professional on a case-by-case basis. Some of these services are still evolving, so the fine details could change dramatically with time. Speaking of which…
Cryptocurrency accounts, like Bitcoin, can be transferred to your next of kin in a pretty straightforward manner. That is, if your beneficiary knows about it.
With emerging wealth platforms like this, it’s vital to leave instructions for relatives, especially older or less tech-savvy ones, who might not know the true value of what is, to them, just a random password they find on your computer.
Betting accounts are tricky, as according to GOV.UK, funds are held in a trust, and members are just beneficiaries of this trust. Each betting site will have its own process for dealing with deceased persons’ accounts, but they’re tight-lipped about what these are.
Ladbrokes, for example, only say they need to see ‘documents’ before they can help. While this is unhelpfully vague, contacting a betting site’s customer service department is a good way to get started.
Online bank accounts and savings accounts are no different to the old-school physical ones, it’s just a question of how you access them.
In light of this, your bank account isn’t technically part of your digital legacy, although you’ll want to leave your online login details to make things easier for the executor of your estate. Either way, your bank will have clear processes for closing a deceased person’s account.
PayPal accounts are made really easy for executors to close after a person dies. On their website, they outline fully updated guidance for what they need to see, and how to get it to them. However, as of the time of writing this does require faxing documents over, which might be a problem for those of us who haven’t seen a fax machine in a while.