A digital executor is someone you appoint in your Will who will be responsible for distributing your digital assets. Digital assets can include a variety of electronic records and files that are stored online, on mobile devices or on personal computers. They include photos, emails and social media accounts.

Digital executors is a relatively new idea. In more recent times our photos and other documents were physical objects that we kept at home. Now they are likely to be online with other assets such as videos.

Giving your log in details and passwords to family members or trusted friends is not enough, they will need to be named as a digital executor in your Will, which will give them the legal authority to act on your behalf.

What do digital executors do?

One of the tasks is likely to be dealing with social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, among others. Digital executors would typically notify social media platforms about your death. Your accounts can then be closed or memorialised if such a function exists.

Digital executors can also deal with subscription accounts such as Amazon Prime, Ebay or Netflix as well as any websites or blogs you published.

A digital executor can also download photos and videos and distribute them to your family and friends.

Who should you choose as a digital executor?

You do not need to appoint someone separately in your Will as a digital executor, however if you are very active online, then it would be a good idea to do so. That’s because other executors are likely to be busy sorting out your other financial affairs and bank accounts etc. Appointing someone else to deal with your online accounts removes some of the stress for them.

As with appointing any executor, before you name a digital executor in your Will, you should ensure that the person is trustworthy, reliable and happy to carry out the role. Plus they should be comfortable going online and using computers.

It would be a good idea to send them a list of online accounts, complete with usernames, separately. This will make it easier for them to contact companies to request your data, or if you leave explicit log in information and instructions in a separate letter, that way, your executor will be able to manage your accounts without relying on government laws or company policies.