Are Digital Assets Personal Property?

Posted:30th May 2022

Are digital assets personal property? Can they be inherited?

Well, they are certainly becoming more prominent in the average person’s life.

According to a Pew Research study, US citizens place an average value of $55,000 on the digital assets they own. A separate study also reports that 16% of US citizens have invested in or traded, or used some sort of digital asset. Truly, the digital asset is rising to become a significant share of a person’s personal property.

Before we answer that, we must answer what digital assets are in the first place.

What are Digital Assets?

Digital assets span a wide range of digital property. This can include the most common identifiers like social media accounts and blogs to more lavish investments like Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs). Cryptocurrencies, digital land parcels, digital footprints, and even AdSense accounts count as digital assets.

Can You Inherit Digital Assets?

Well, the answer is a little more complicated than yes, or no. There are certain assets which can be inherited and others which cannot.

Digital Assets Which Can Be Inherited

Certain digital assets you own are transferable through your estate when you die. Your Will can be used to determine who they are transferred to. These include any funds in a digital account, cryptocurrency investments, digital music or ad revenue, etc. You may also be able to transfer things like frequent flyer miles, discounts, or vouchers, depending on specific company policies.

If you do not name a specific beneficiary, these assets will pass to your residuary beneficiary. That is the person that receives the remainder of your estate after funeral expenses, debts and any gifts have been paid.

Digital Assets Which Can’t Be Inherited

As for assets you won’t be able to transfer, it, unfortunately, includes most of them. This is usually because digital assets are hosted on domains owned by big tech companies which do not allow transfer through Wills.

Even if they do have real value to your family, you do not have the right to transfer them at death. Some examples include your email and your social media accounts. You, strictly speaking, don’t own those accounts. You simply use them.

You are also not allowed to transfer subscription accounts like Netflix, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime, etc. The apps on your phone are also not transferable since they’re linked to unique identifiers and accounts.

Contact EMG Solicitors For Any Questions About Inheriting Digital Assets

If you do want to transfer digital assets to your descendants or other beneficiaries through your Will, contact EMG Solicitors. We will help you draft a Will so that every digital asset transferrable is delivered to your chosen beneficiary.

Digital assets are a new domain which can be confusing and daunting at times. However, EMG Solicitors is a Legal 500 law firm with exceptional expertise in digital assets. We will guide you every step of the way and make sure that your digital personal property is passed down as it should be.

Contact EMG Solicitors today on 0191 500 6989 to find out how you can transfer your digital assets today.