Death and Online Accounts / Investments

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Vicky Bligh – Head of Private Client Services

Having practiced as a solicitor in the field of probate for more than 30 years, I have seen a great deal of change in the way that people manage their affairs during their lifetime and how we then need to deal with them following death.

When I first started practising I don’t think online accounts existed. When a person died their relatives would come in to see me with bags full of paperwork, for me to sort through.

Whilst that can still happen, we are finding that more people, are turning to online accounts and investments. This certainly helps the environment but it can cause issues when it comes to establishing what assets are held in an estate. There is sometimes no paper trail at all.

When discussing Will instructions with my clients, I now ask about online accounts and suggest that they just keep a basic written record, to show that they exist. It is not a good idea to write down passwords, just the name of the financial institution and possibly account numbers, or at least the last few digits of the account numbers. Following death, we can then contact the institution concerned to report the death and find out details of the account or investment. This is something I would recommend that anyone with an online account or investment, does.

If you need any advice or assistance in relation to making a Will or the administration of an estate, please contact Vicky Bligh.