Discussing Dementia Fears – Study

A third of those who have noticed symptoms of dementia in themselves or a loved one are waiting over a month to discuss the matter, according to a new survey.

Marking Dementia Action Week 2023, the Alzheimer’s Society’s survey found just 15% of those with concerns over symptoms brought the issue up straight away. What’s more, 11% still haven’t raised their worries after spotting the first symptom.

The Alzheimer’s Society says this delay is having a knock-on impact on how soon people are able to get help as 23% waited over six months before they spoke to a medical professional.

According to the survey, confusing dementia symptoms with normal ageing was the top reason people stayed silent (64%).

This was followed by not wanting to worry their loved one (33%), and fears of how their relationships might change (16%).

Worryingly, the survey of more than 1,100 people, showed there is still a fear of stigma – 44% said they were scared people would speak down to them or their loved one after they were diagnosed, or treat them like a child.

All of this reinforces the importance of the ongoing campaign ran by the Society: “It’s not called getting old, it’s called getting ill.”

This encourages people who are worried about their memory, or the memory of someone close to them, to seek support in getting a diagnosis, using a “symptoms checklist”, which is available through the Society’s online hub.

“We can’t continue to avoid the ‘d’ word – we need to face dementia head on,” said Kate Lee, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, adding:

“The focus of Dementia Action Week is to inform everyone to know there is support out there if [they are] confused about symptoms, or don’t know how to have that first tricky conversation.”

In the UK, one person develops dementia every three minutes – that means that by 2040, 1.6m people will be living with the condition.

Resident doctor on ITV’s Lorraine and Good Morning Britain, Dr Amir Khan, said:

“A third of us will go on to develop dementia in our lifetimes – we need to change the idea that getting dementia is inevitable as we age – it’s not called getting old – it’s called getting ill

If you or a loved one is in the early stages of dementia arranging to give someone a lasting power of attorney to look after your financial and or health and welfare is a viable option worth considering

What is a Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trust?

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When writing your Will, you may include a Trust for certain portions of your estate, such as cash gifts or property. Alternatively, you may be acting as an Executor or Trustee for a Will that includes a Trust.

One type of Trust is a Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trust (NRBDT). This blog will answer frequently asked questions about this type of Trust, Nil Rate Bands, and Discretionary Trusts in general.

What is a Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trust?

A Discretionary Trust is one where the Trustees named in the Will have power over how the allocated inheritance is spent. The details of their involvement will be laid out in the Trust document; in the case of a Will Trust, the Will becomes this document. Many people don’t understand that the Will is the Trust document and go looking for other documentation.

Depending on the wishes expressed in the Will, Trustees may be able to decide:

What gets paid out (e.g. whether the total amount will be paid in full or in instalments)Which beneficiary receives the inheritance – if, for example, ten beneficiaries are named in the Trust, the Trustee(s) may only choose to pay some of these, or they may pay all of them equally. It’s completely at their discretionHow frequently payments are madeWhether there are any conditions as to how the money will be spent

This means that if there is a change in circumstances or financial concerns, the Trustee can protect the deceased’s assets. Most commonly, Discretionary Trusts are created to provide for a future need, such as someone who may need more financial help than other beneficiaries, or for a beneficiary who is not capable of dealing with their finances independently.

Can a Trustee remove a beneficiary from a Discretionary Trust?

Beneficiaries are chosen by the Settlor (the person who placed the assets into the Trust) and upon their death. There is no need for the Trustee to remove any beneficiaries, as they have the power to decide whether or not they will be paid. In addition, the Trustee can choose to delay the pay-out until a time they feel is appropriate.

What rights do beneficiaries have under a Discretionary Trust?

The Trustee(s) must act in the best interests of all the beneficiaries. However, as they have the right to decide how much and when income gets paid out, they also have the right to bypass beneficiaries if they feel they are not able to inherit responsibly. A Letter of Wishes can be placed with the Will and Trust document to express how the Trust should be dealt with. It’s worth considering that a Letter of Wishes is not legally binding; however, your Will and Trust document are.

Beneficiaries can request information from Trustees regarding why they have made a decision or when a decision will be made. However, Trustees may refuse to answer. Trustees need to ensure they have acted in the best interests of the Trust and beneficiaries.

What is the Nil Rate Band?

The Nil Rate Band (NRB) is the amount you can pass on to beneficiaries of your estate without being charged any Inheritance Tax. Currently, this threshold is set at £325,000 until 2028. There is also a Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB), which is presently £175,000.

As of 2007, the NRB can be transferred between spouses and civil partners after the first death. This is referred to as the Transferable Nil Rate Band (TNRB). For example, at the current NRB allowance, if the first partner passes away and only uses £100,000 of their NRB, the remaining £225,000 will be added to the surviving partner’s threshold. They can then leave Inheritance Tax-free gifts to their beneficiaries totalling the combined amount of their NRB and remaining TNRB.

The amounts used and amounts outstanding are worked out in percentages, rather than figures, as the NRB is liable to change. However, it has not been changed since 2009 and is set to remain the same until 2028.

What is a Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trust?

Prior to 2007, NRBDTs were often used by married or civilly partnered couples to ensure that the surviving partner could receive the deceased’s NRB allowance and avoid a hefty Inheritance Tax bill.

However, now that the NRB can be transferred to the surviving spouse or civil partner, couples may not deem it necessary to include a NRBDT. Other reasons for creating a NRBDT can include:

Reducing Inheritance Tax for a surviving life tenant in a shared property – if the property value is above their own NRB allowance, the amount from the NRBDT can be used to reduce/pay off the difference.Leaving other Inheritance Tax-free gifts – when estate planning, it’s important to consider the taxes that your loved ones will be left with. Placing any leftover NRB allowance into a NRBDT allows for beneficiaries to receive this amount without paying an excessive amount of Inheritance Tax.Providing for particular beneficiaries – for example, a NRBDT could be used to protect assets that will go to children from a previous relationship in the event that the surviving spouse remarries. The Trustee can ensure that these assets are distributed correctly.

Essentially, including a NRBDT means that any unused NRB can be held outside of the individual’s estate and therefore will not be included for Inheritance Tax purposes.

Is it better to leave inheritance in a Trust?

Using a Trust to distribute your inheritance can help to reduce the Inheritance Tax of the assets (e.g. cash, possessions, and property) that are placed into the Trust. Therefore, the full amount of your estate can be maximised for your beneficiaries.

Another advantage is that it provides for underage or vulnerable beneficiaries that cannot deal with valuable assets on their own. Naming Trustees can help give you peace of mind when estate planning and provide for your loved ones upon your death.

One potential negative that is worth considering is that it could cause stress and disagreements amongst your beneficiaries, as the Trustee may make decisions that they are unhappy about. However, by being careful with who you appoint and leaving clear wording in your Trust document/Letter of Wishes, this can be avoided.

Additionally, if a Discretionary Trust is set up, this may result in you not being able to claim any RNRB, as HMRC states that this type of Trust does not meet the RNRB criteria.

Abbey Broadway is available to offer free, impartial, and practical advice on all elements of estate administration upon a death – this includes explaining the Trust wording to the Trustees and discussing the processes involved in plain English.

If you need help with probate, administering an estate, or understanding Trusts, contact us by filling in the form below or call our Client Services Team on 0800 368 9770.

What to do when someone dies

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What to do when someone dies

8 steps to take following someone’s death

When someone close to you dies, it can be difficult working out what to do and in what order. The process can be broken into eight stages:

Getting a medical certificate – this is required to register the death. If the person died in hospital, a Doctor will issue the certificate. If the death occurred at home, a GP should undertake the task.

Registering the death – a relative, hospital representative, or the person arranging the funeral can do this at a register office local to where the deceased died.

What to do when a Coroner is involved – when a death is reported to a Coroner, investigations must be completed before papers are issued. A Coroner may issue an interim death certificate if an inquest is held. The funeral should not be booked until this is complete, but ceremony planning can commence.

Dealing with the Will – if a Will was left, the funeral should be planned in accordance with any wishes detailed. It’s best to conduct a Will search to check if there is a Will, as this will affect how the estate is administered.

Locating important papers – other documents to search for include pension paperwork, insurance policies, and financial institution account details.

Arranging the funeral – arrangements can be handed over to a professional Funeral Director, who will be able to offer guidance.

Probate – whilst this is not always required, it may be necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate before proceeding with estate administration.

Estate administration – the process of dealing with a person’s legal/tax affairs, assets, property, liabilities, and distributing inheritance.

If you need guidance on dealing with a bereavement, please contact us.

What Happens to Premium Bonds After Death ?

A Premium Bond is an investment product held with the government by National Savings and Investment (NS&I). The government pays interest on these Bonds, and this interest is distributed by a lottery in a monthly prize draw. A cash prize can be anywhere between £25 and £1 million and is free of tax. Prizes are either paid straight into the individual’s bank account, by cheque through the post, or invested back into more Bonds.

Unlike most other assets, Premium Bonds cannot simply be passed on to beneficiaries of the estate, as they cannot be transferred into someone else’s name. When administering someone’s estate and dealing with Premium Bonds, there are two main options available to the Executor(s):

• Claim the Premium Bonds immediately

they can be repaid as part of the estate administration process, and the funds from this sale will be included as part of the total estate value for the beneficiaries. In this case, the Bonds will only be eligible for prize draws in the month that they are claimed.

• Cash them out later

NS&I will hold the Premium Bonds for 12 months after the death of the owner, during which time they are eligible for the prize draw. After this period, the Executor can claim any prizes won during this time, as well as the face value of the Bonds

It’s important to consider that although the winnings are not taxable when won, they are included in the estate for the purposes of Inheritance Tax (if applicable). Additionally, probate is more than likely required when managing Premium Bonds, as the NS&I threshold is only £5,000.

LPA applications up 19% year-on-year

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The number of Last Power of Attorney (LPA) registrations in England and Wales is continuing to soar, new data released by the Ministry of Justice has revealed.


n July to September 2022, there were 201,121 LPAs registered, up 19% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2021.

This continues the trend highlighted in a recent report from IRN Legal Research which found the number of applications in Q1 and Q2 of 2022 sat at 399,109, 12.6% higher than the 354,606 seen in the same period last year.

There were also 1,502 Enduring Powers of Attorney registered, though this represents a slight decrease from the same period last year.

The total number of Powers of Attorney (POAs) registered since 2008 can be seen below:


The Ministry of Justice said 57% of POAs registered were from female donors in July to September 2022 and 42% were from male donors. Altogether, 52% were over 75 years old.

Elsewhere in the Court of Protection data, it was also revealed that there was a 3% increase in applications made in relation to deprivation of liberty in the most recent quarter. However, there was a decrease by 36% in the orders made for deprivation of liberty over the same period from 988 to 637.


Deprivation of Liberty applications and orders, January to March 2008 to July to September 2022. Source: Ministry of Justice


Overall, there was a decrease in both applications and orders under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Specifically, there were 9,045 applications made in July to September 2022, down by 8%. During the same period there were 12,094 orders made, down by 2%.


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FCA confirms list of regulated funeral plan providers

The regulation of the funeral plan market proposes to provide better safeguards for consumers, including a ban on cold calling and commission paid to intermediaries, and high standards on governance and financial resilience. Regulation will also provide a more formal redress scheme through the Financial Ombudsman Service and will be covered by the FSCS if their provider goes out of business.

Emily Shepperd, Executive Director of Authorisations at the FCA, said that regulation would better protect consumers:

“As this sector approaches regulation, we want to provide holders of pre-paid funeral plans with some reassurance, which is why we have published a list of the firms we intend to authorise.”

“Our regulation will lead to higher standards in the market and boost consumer protection. We want to see an improvement in the way customers are treated, with better value products, better sales practices and better controls in place so consumers can be confident they will receive the funeral they expect.”

The full list of approved providers is produced below

Alternative Planning Company LimitedAvalon (Europe) LimitedAvalon Trustee Company LimitedCelebration Of Life Planning LtdCentral England Co-Operative LimitedCo-Op Funeral Plans LimitedCrystal Cremations LtdDignity Funerals LimitedDistinct Funeral Plans LimitedEcclesiastical Planning Services LimitedF A Albin & Sons LimitedFamily Funerals Trust LimitedFreeman Brothers (this includes Peter Christopher Freeman and Bridgid Mary Freeman)Golden Charter LimitedGolden Leaves LimitedHaven Personal Funeral Plans LtdIndependent Funeral Planning Services LtdLow Cost Funeral Limited T/A Affordable Funerals (this includes Memoria Limited)Peace Burials LimitedPlan With Grace LimitedPure Cremation Planning LtdSouthern Co-Operative Funerals LimitedThe Independent Family Funeral Directors Ltd (this includes Fosters Family Funeral Directors)William Alty & Sons Limited

FCA names funeral plan providers who are NOT authorised

The Financial Conduct Authority has published a list of 14 funeral plan providers who will not be authorised to sell new funeral plans once the new regulatory changes take effect from 29th July 2022.

Reiterating the forthcoming changes, the FCA stated that “only funeral plan providers that we’ve authorised, or their Appointed Representatives (intermediaries who can distribute and sell their plans) may sell new funeral plans [as of 29th July]”.

Following this date, the FCA said that the 14 firms in question “will not be authorised to sell new funeral plans” and that consumers “should not buy a new plan from them”.

Reasons for not authorising a provider comes as a result of an inability to demonstrate compliance with the FCA’s regulatory standards, which may include things like poor sales practices.

The full list is as follows:

Bristol Memorial Woodlands FPCapital Life Funeral Planning LtdEmpathy UK Funeral Plans LtdEternal Peace Funeral Plans LtdFox Milton and Co Ltd, trading as Unique Funeral PlansIberian Funeral PlansMairi Urquhart & Son LtdMaplebrook Funeral Plans LimitedPride Planning LimitedRest Assured Funeral Plans LimitedSeasons Personal Funeral Plans limitedSilver Clouds Later life planning LimitedSJP Lichfield LimitedSovereign Lifecare

The FCA also noted:

“If you already have a plan with one of these firms, you should get in touch with them to find out what is happening to your plan. Your options might include receiving a refund, or your plan may be transferred to another provider.

Certain firms that applied for authorisation before 1st March 2022 can continue to administer existing plans until 31st October 2022. This is to give these firms more time to wind down their business or find an authorised provider to take on their funeral plans.”

On 17th June, the FCA published a provisional list of 24 providers that are proposed to be regulated. It said that the 24 providers make up c. 87% of the market.

Can property improvements and upgrades be made during estate administration?

Our latest informative blog is authored by Jim Sisson, Chief Financial Officer at Tower Street Finance. 

When someone dies, the beneficiaries may want to make improvements to the property to increase its value and their inheritance. This begs the question – can improvements or upgrades be made to a property during the estate administration process? In our latest blog, Tower Street Finance’s Chief Financial Officer, Jim Sisson, answers this question by covering: 

 ✓ The responsibilities of a Personal Representative
 ✓ Things to consider before making any home improvements
 ✓ How beneficiaries should proceed
 ✓ The options available to Personal Representatives

People leave behind a variety of possessions and treasures when they pass away. Managing property is a top priority for individuals tasked with handling an estate because it is frequently one of the most valuable assets.
There are, however, never any assurances as to the state of the property. While some might have been kept up to high standards for years, others might have deteriorated. So, these concerns prompt the question: Can (or even should) an estate property receive modifications or improvements?

Personal Representatives

Consider the function of a Personal Representative with regard to property in order to answer this query. In essence, they must preserve the asset in the same state that it was in at the time of the decedent’s passing by collecting, safeguarding, and maintaining it.
As a result, they are not accountable for making improvements to the property. They would be expected to handle more common maintenance problems, such as roof repairs and water leaks. In these situations, they must, for instance, fix the leak as well as any other damage to ensure that the property is returned to its original state.
It is not the Personal Representative’s responsibility to make improvements to the property that will increase its sale value. Therefore, the legal obligations of the Personal Representative would be to dispose of the property in another method, such as with a cash buyer, if (for example) the property had a low Energy Performance Certificate rating and potential buyers were unable to secure a mortgage.
Therefore, a Personal Representative must strike a balance between their obligations to each beneficiary individually and their obligations to the estate as a whole.

Home improvement

To be clear, the legal process of estate administration does not prevent any upgrades from taking place. However, such works are not a testamentary matter. As a result, there are a few things that need to be kept in mind:

As upgrades could incur costs and impact on the timeframe of sale, all beneficiaries should formally agree that the work is in their collective interests.If some beneficiaries do not agree with the work, the other beneficiaries could ‘pay them out’ of their share. If this is not possible, the property may need to be sold in its current state and there are products available to help if this is required.Any upgrade would be an action by the beneficiaries. Personal Representatives could assist in some capacity, but it would not be related to their legal duties.Personal Representatives may also be uncomfortable with extended delays to the administration process arising from any property works (especially if they are personally liable for any Testamentary Expenses). Products exist to fund these expenses and remove liability from the Personal Representative if required.

In all cases, all parties need to agree before proceeding.


Making the upgrades

So, how could beneficiaries ultimately proceed? There are two potential avenues they could explore:

The Personal Representative would need to confirm that all beneficiaries agree to any works (to ensure any risks and delays are acceptable). Unless individual beneficiary objections can be properly resolved, the works must not progress. Costs of any works could be met by an inheritance advance loan (to an individual or multiple beneficiaries). Properly constructed, this product allows beneficiaries to access a portion of their inheritance sooner, with repayment coming from distribution of inheritance from the estate.

Alternatively, the beneficiaries could request that the Personal Representative handles the work. It is possible for all beneficiaries to agree that the Personal Representative may recover these costs from the estate before distributing their inheritance. This may therefore allow a Personal Representative to use an estate funding product, taken out in their name and repaid from the proceeds of the estate.


Consider your options

While upgrades to an estate property are not a testamentary matter, that does not necessarily mean that they cannot be arranged.
There are potential approaches that can be taken on the issue, so it is well worth considering your options if you are in this kind of situation.
If you’d like to find out more or have any questions, please get in touch using the form below:

Can probate fees be paid from the estate?

When dealing with the death of a loved one, many Executors find themselves worrying about the costs of administering the estate and how fees can be paid. Acting as an Executor or Administrator is not a paid role, and it’s common to feel concerned that it may leave you out of pocket. In this blog, we’ll cover what probate is and whether probate (and other fees) can be paid out of the estate.

What is probate?

Probate, known as the Grant of Probate or Grant of Representation in England and Wales or Confirmation in Scotland, is obtained by the Executor to give them the legal right to administer the deceased’s estate. When someone dies without a Will, known as dying intestate, this role is referred to as the Administrator, and probate is called Letters of Administration.

Whether the individual died with or without a Will, the Executor or Administrator (Personal Representative) will need to work out whether probate is required. Generally, probate is required if the deceased solely owned property and/or has a certain amount of money in the bank. This amount is individual to each UK financial institution.

What is the difference between probate and estate administration?

Although probate is not required for every estate, the Executor or Administrator must always administer the estate. This process is referred to as estate administration; probate is just one part of the wider estate administration process. When administering an estate, the Personal Representative’s tasks may include notifying utility companies, preparing tax forms, selling assets and property, producing estate accounts, and more. Click here to download our complete guide to estate administration.

How much does probate cost?

The fee for obtaining a Grant of Probate is £273 for all applications except those where the estate is £5,000 or less – in this case, there is no fee to pay. Many Personal Representatives choose to instruct someone to apply on their behalf to take away the stress of the complicated paperwork; this will cost an additional fee. Whilst some providers will operate under a fixed fee, others might work on time and expense prices, and others may charge a percentage of the estate. There are different levels of professional services available to you, from simply obtaining the Grant of Probate to support with the full estate administration process.

Can probate fees be paid from the estate?

So, how are probate fees paid? The probate application fee can be paid online or via cheque (if applying by post) and then reimbursed from the estate later. Similarly, if a professional is undertaking the work on your behalf, the Executor or Administrator can claim back the cost from the estate.

Alternatively, an Executor bank account can be set up using the estate’s funds so that they do not have to pay any upfront fees themselves. However, this can depend on the amount of money in the estate and which financial institution the deceased banked with, and you may need the Grant of Probate before paying out any estate expenses from the deceased’s funds.

Can money be paid out of the estate before probate is granted?

Although there are some exceptions, the estate should usually never be paid out until the Executor has a Grant of Probate. However, if probate is not required, paying beneficiaries should still be one of the last tasks the Personal Representative undertakes. This is to ensure all debts and liabilities are paid from the estate first. It is usually possible to pay the funeral bill from the estate before probate is granted.

Additionally, it is advisable that the Executor places a statutory advertisement in a local paper so that any unknown creditors or beneficiaries have the chance to come forward. The recommended period for this advertisement is a minimum of two months, after which the estate can be distributed as planned. This has the added benefit of providing protection against disputes from unknown beneficiaries.

What other expenses can be deducted from the estate?

When acting as Executor or Administrator, you must keep a record of every expense you’ve had to pay so that estate accounts can be prepared, and reasonable expenses can be claimed back from the estate. Reasonable expenses are those paid by the Executor during estate administration which are unavoidable and can be confirmed as necessary to the estate/its beneficiaries. Other than probate fees, these may include:

Valuation servicesThe cost of clearing the propertyLegal fees for property saleTravel expensesInheritance Tax feesOther legal fees

Claiming expenses which are not reasonable could lead to delays in the estate administration process, as the beneficiaries are entitled to request records of everything that the Personal Representative is spending so that they receive their maximum inheritance.

When can the Executor pay beneficiaries?

Once all debts have been settled and assets accounted for, the Executor can then begin the process of paying out the estate to the beneficiaries. It is at this stage that the Personal Representative(s) can also be reimbursed for any expenses.
The Executor or Administrator should also produce estate accounts for the beneficiaries so that they can review the details of the estate’s make-up and how the share due to them has been calculated. This should include the estate’s complete assets, liabilities, fees, and expenses during administration. Essentially, estate accounts show all money coming in and out of the estate.

What help is available to Executors?

There are certain estate funding products that are available to help Executors cover the costs involved with probate and estate administration. Additionally, there are solutions available to keep the beneficiaries happy and avoid disputes. For example, Inheritance Tax loans, inheritance advances, and funding for estate expenses.

Instructing a professional that can provide a fixed, upfront cost not only assures Personal Representatives that they will not be charged any unexpected fees, but it also means that they can hand over the difficult work to an expert.

Together with Kings Court Trust, we can obtain a Grant of Probate for £950 (excluding VAT and the probate fee), taking all of the complicated paperwork on for you. We will then send your copies of the Grant to you, allowing you to begin the estate administration process. Additionally, we provide a full range of specialist estate solutions, such as completing the full estate administration on your behalf so that you have peace of mind that everything is taken care of.

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Can probate fees be paid from the estate?

When dealing with the death of a loved one, many Executors find themselves worrying about the costs of administering the estate and how fees can be paid. Acting as an Executor or Administrator is not a paid role, and it’s common to feel concerned that it may leave you out of pocket. In this blog,

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What happens to crypto assets when someone dies?

It’s not unexpected that managing a loved one’s digital assets after their passing is a duty that is becoming more and more prevalent as more and more areas of our life transfer to the digital realm. Due to its rising popularity, cryptocurrency is a digital asset that frequently makes news. Due to cryptocurrency’s early development

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Care Home Fees and Protective Trust Wills

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Trusts in Wills

Trusts in Wills https://youtu.be/PuosZ_WN-sU Many Wills may have a Trust written into them but there is often confusion surrounding the reasons why it has been included and what it means. It is important to remember that although the Trust in the Will is treated as coming into effect when a person dies, there may be

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Kate’s financial worries demonstrate the need for LPA

TV personality Kate Garraway’s publicized financial worries, due to her husband currently being in a coma in hospital due to the coronavirus, is a timely reminder of the importance of Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs). Kate’s husband Derek was diagnosed with coronavirus back in March. Although he is now testing negative for the illness he

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The ongoing trend of leaving a digital legacy

The ongoing trend of leaving a digital legacy The ongoing trend of leaving a digital legacyBy the end of this century, the number of dead people on the popular social media network, Facebook, is expected to outnumber living members – turning it into the world’s biggest ‘virtual graveyard’. Additionally, a recent YouGov survey revealed that

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What happens to crypto assets when someone dies?

It’s not unexpected that managing a loved one’s digital assets after their passing is a duty that is becoming more and more prevalent as more and more areas of our life transfer to the digital realm. Due to its rising popularity, cryptocurrency is a digital asset that frequently makes news. Due to cryptocurrency’s early development (in the first decade of the twenty-first century), many people are still unfamiliar with it and may unintentionally skip the estate administration stage of dealing with cryptoassets.