Everyone is talking about Pokémon Go but no one is asking the most important question of all – what happens to your Pokémon when you die?
Pokémon Go is a smartphone game which has been downloaded over 7.5 million times and has added £5.4 billion to the value of Nintendo. Until this week, it was only available in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. But as of 13 July 2016 for Android users (and 14 July for iPhone users) it is available in the UK.
The aim is to walk around the real world catching adorable virtual monsters. There are 250 to collect and some, such as the iconic yellow Pikachu, are particularly sought-after. It is therefore possible to build up a desirable collection, arguably on a par with a stamp or coin collection.
In fact, what you could end up with is a valuable “digital asset” which you may wish to pass down to your loved ones on your death.
More and more people are thinking about their digital assets when they make their Will. Some of these assets have financial value, such as PayPal accounts and bitcoins; others have sentimental value, such a photos or emails. There are also issues of privacy and identity theft.
In June 2016, STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) published new guidance for the public and professionals about digital assets.
So, what should you do to protect your digital legacy?
- Make a list of all your digital assets so that, on your death, the person dealing with your estate knows what they are and where to find them;
- Appoint someone you trust to deal with these assets on your death and make sure they know what you want them to do, for example which assets they should preserve and which they should destroy;
- Make sure that whoever is dealing with your digital assets is able to access them, for example by ensuring they have the passwords; and
- Do your research to make sure you know what the providers of all your digital assets will need your representative to do and make sure you give them clear guidance. Make sure that the language you use to appoint your representative will work for each provider.