By Stephen Moses Director and founder of estate planning platform - Zenplans

From a recent report, a fifth of estate planning professionals already deal with digital assets regularly, while the vast majority predict demand for advice in this area will increase significantly - specifically when it comes to how to handle someone's social media, email, cryptocurrency and cloud storage after they have passed away.

And while owning and managing digital assets is relatively straightforward, there is still no consistent solution for passing them on when we die - or become incapacitated. The research found that clients are experiencing difficulties in accessing the digital assets of their loved ones once they have passed, causing distress.

While the area of digital assets is complicated, there are two major issues at play; the first is that, unlike physical assets, most people don't make plans for what will happen to their digital assets when they die. The second is that, even when people do think about it, the lack of consistency in data providers' policies for accessing and dealing with digital assets, make them very hard to manage.

Just 6% of estate practitioners agree that there is a ‘straightforward' way for accessing digital assets; most blame ‘a lack of estate planning by the deceased'.

So, the answer is planning, but how? Well, there is a huge opportunity here for estate planning professionals - accountants, solicitors and IFAs - to take control of the issue and provide the solutions. They can make use of the various digital estate planning tools available and help their clients find an easy and secure way to manage and share their digital assets. And for those who take a more active approach, there are lots of opportunities for further engagement through regular reviews to ensure their clients' wishes and information about their digital assets - including where they are and how to access them - are kept up to date.

The easiest way to do this is through a specialist estate planning platform like Zenplans, which has been created for estate planners to help their clients securely organise, maintain, store and selectively share all their most important personal and financial information, including, of course, their digital assets.

A Zenplan - which also includes details about the person's wishes -  can be shared with named delegates (e.g. beneficiaries, the executor of the will, estate planners etc), who can be granted restricted or full access, either immediately or after a particular time - for example, after death, or if the client becomes incapacitated.

This not only ensures all wishes and key information - including the ever-changing policies and procedures around digital assets - are always up to date, but enables advisers to go ‘beyond finances' and give their clients peace of mind that everything has been thought of and planned for.