One in ten consider 'digital inheritance' when writing a will

by Sarah Ashcroft

One in ten people are considering their online assets when it comes to writing a will, a survey has revealed.

The poll of 2,000 British people by the Centre for Creative and Social Technology (Cast) at the University of London found that 11 per cent plan to, or have already included internet passwords in their wills.

In a trend that the researchers call a "digital inheritance", Cast predicted the area is likely to become increasingly important in the future as the monetary value of film and music collections, or the sentimental value of photographs migrates online.

The research found that 25 per cent of those polled had more than £200 worth of digital assets stored online, putting the estimated value of Britain's digital inheritance at £2.3 billion.

Additionally, by 2020 one-quarter of people are expected to store their entire collection of photographs on the net, and one-third will do the same with their music.

The poll was commissioned by digital hosting company Rackspace, and it also revealed that some data formats, such as DVDs and even physical books, are predicted to be obsolete by 2020 - making the consideration of digital assets when writing a will particularly important.

Eight per cent of respondents said they stash everything online, both as a more secure mode of storage and to keep their physical space easier to manage.

"With the large investment so many UK adults seem to be making in digital treasures, it's imperative that people consider the associated security and legacy implications," said Fabio Torlini, vice-president at Rackspace.

"Businesses have a great opportunity now to shape consumer understanding of cloud computing and build trust."

It follows news that publisher HarperCollins has acquired the digital rights to Hello Kitty products, with plans for the franchise including e-colouring books, friendship journals and drawing guides.

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Published on: October 19, 2011

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