The short answer is the ‘the company behind the digital platform’. For example, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
But first, what are digital assets?
You may not know this, but your Facebook and Instagram accounts are ‘assets’. They may or may not add monetary value to your estate.
What happens to all your emails, picture and blogs when you are gone? Do you even care?
What if your family is left with awkward invitations and messages to you? If you do not care, easy.
If you do care, then what should you do about it?
There is currently no legislation dealing specially with digital assets, so your estate is left to rely on contract law to deal with your digital assets. A digital asset is a contractual agreement between you and the digital platform provider. What happens to your digital content is governed by the terms of the contractual agreement that you ‘agreed’ to when you signed up for an account. But how many of us actually read through all the terms and conditions before clicking ‘accept’ or ‘agree’?
Most of the suppliers of the digital assets are located outside of Australia. Therefore, your digital contract will be exclusively governed by the contractual law of another country.
Some of these contracts have terms and provisions about what happens if you die, some do not. Of the ones that do, your family, next of kind and executors will still have to go through a foreign process to be able to access your digital accounts. They may need to rely upon the contents of your Will in order to have legal rights to do this.
Digital assets do not fall within the traditional definition of ‘property’ to be disposed of in your Will. Therefore, if you wish to specifically gift your digital asset you will need to address this carefully to avoid any disputes after you die. If you have significant digital assets which may have some value, either now or in the future, you should include provisions for your digital assets in your Will.
At Chamberlains Law Firm we offer assistance and guidance to our clients to provide advice about how to deal with digital assets from an estate planning perspective. Speak to us today to discuss your situation.