When flamboyant US businesswoman Leona Helmsley, known as the Queen of Mean, died in 2008, she left a legacy of $12 million to Trouble, her Maltese Terrier. She didn’t have a lot of friends.
Under succession laws in Australia you cannot do this. You cannot even set up a trust to take care of your dog. The best you can do for your pets is to organise for someone to take care of them, and to give them some money to do it.
Digital assets are also not taken care of under our legal system. Whilst we are very good when it comes to traditional property, including real estate, we are not so good at dealing with digital assets, which have both sentimental and monetary values. Social media content including Facebook and Instagram, as well as digital artwork, can best be protected through a company structure rather than through individual estates.
There is currently an inquiry to updating the laws in NSW in relation to data. The best thing you can do at the moment is to keep an inventory of your digital assets to store in a safe place, such as with your lawyer. This should include your passwords. And don’t even talk about cryptocurrency!
Always get the best advice possible. Read this Sydney Morning Herald article for further information about some of the more obscure aspects of succession law.