There is widespread confusion about the rights people have over their digital assets, according to a new survey from law firm VWV. Even though virtually all adults in the UK now have digital assets, fewer than 25 per cent are confident that they know which ones they actually own, and only six per cent have specifically included digital assets in their wills.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets include everything from email accounts, to social media and photographs stored online, as well as crypto-currencies and digital documents.

How can I pass on my digital assets?

More than 65 per cent of respondents who have a will said they planned to update them to include their digital assets. Although including reference to digital assets in your will is a good idea, assets won't necessarily be passed on as you wish.

The law that deals with the succession of digital assets has struggled to keep pace with rapid developments in technology. It is therefore sensible to appoint a digital assets manager in your will, but it is unclear whether providers of digital content will accept such an appointment, as consent to disclose account information to the manager or to reset passwords.

It is still vital to ensure that your assets are passed on as you wish. Sharing your log on details with your loved ones may be the only practical way of doing that. However it is important to note that this can breach user agreements.

What about inheritance tax?

Nearly 60 per cent of respondents said their digital assets had financial and sentimental value.

Digital assets that have financial value need to be included in the inheritance tax return that is completed after death, and will be treated like any other property for inheritance tax purposes.

  • Megan Seabourne is a partner at award-winning law firm VWV, which has offices in Clarendon Road, in Watford