The nation is stepping into a cashless era, with Bank Negara Malaysia issuing 48 e-wallet licenses to non-bank e-money issuers, and the government issuing monetary incentives to qualifying Malaysians through e-wallets instead of handing out cash like they used to. E-wallet transactions are accepted almost everywhere, from shopping malls to the wet market in your neighborhood. What happens to the money in your e-wallet when you pass away?
E-wallets fall under the category of digital assets. The concept of digital assets is not an unfamiliar one; your social networking accounts and electronic devices that contain data are part of your digital assets, though it is a category that is often neglected when it comes to estate planning, compared to traditional assets. To prevent the money in your e-wallets from going to waste, they should be included in your will.
Where your digital assets are listed down in your will for your executors to distribute them according to your intentions, keep in mind that your executors will require access to your e-wallets for a smooth administration of your estate. However, you should not list down any passwords or codes in your will, as your will would become a public document when your executor applies for the grant of probate. Instead, your will should include a clause authorising your executors to access and distribute your digital assets, and directing them to a separate list of passwords and codes that you could store together with your will.
If you left out your digital assets while writing your will, fret not – your digital assets may still be distributed according to the Distribution Act 1958 as part of your residuary estate, but unfortunately, you will have no say over how the assets will be distributed among your next-of-kin.
In the event you died intestate, your estate can still be administered by way of a letter of administration, but your digital assets face a high risk of being overlooked, as your administrator would only be able to distribute your assets that are within his knowledge. Administrators may often miss out important assets that they are unaware of whilst applying for a letter of administration, and with digital assets being commonly forgotten by testators themselves, your digital assets may not be passed on to your next-of-kin.
Not only is it imperative that you leave behind a valid will that can ease your surviving family’s hardships during a difficult period, it is also crucial that you make provisions for your digital assets under your will.
To learn more on :
• How to include digital assets in your will
• Creating Wills / Legal Instruments that provide for the distribution of your assets in your e-wallets