Every little helps – leaving your loyalty card points in your Will
Loyalty points - we faithfully collect them throughout a lifetime of shopping but few of us know that in many cases we can actually leave them to our loved ones when we die.
Recent figures show that British shoppers accumulate the annual equivalent of £5.7 billion in loyalty points from high street retailers, averaging out at about £122 per person, per year, if this total is divided between those signed up to the UK's five biggest schemes.
Yet 93 per cent of people have no idea these points can often be passed on to beneficiaries in their Will - and don't share the details of the schemes they have signed up to as a result - and just five per cent of those over 55 have left details of any points they have in their Will.
The issue of what is known as our 'digital inheritance' is becoming of increasing relevance and importance to many people.
Points built up on your Tesco Clubcard or Nectar card for example, frequent flyer schemes and unspent balances on media stores as well as online-only bank accounts and investments and virtual currency like Bitcoin, all form part of your estate.
So what should you do if you want to make sure your loyalty points don't die with you?
Step one - check the terms and conditions relating to each loyalty scheme
By doing this you can find out which schemes allow you to leave your points to someone else in your Will (although many require a death certificate to be produced before any transfer can happen). The ones that do include Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage and Nectar.
Those that don't, claiming they actually own the points rather than you, include some flight reward schemes and some store loyalty cards.
What are the benefits of specifically including loyalty points in your Will?
Although some loyalty scheme points can be transferred without being listed in a Will, being clear and specific has certain advantages:
- You can choose exactly who inherits your loyalty points. And you can give different people points from different schemes;
- You will alert your loved ones to the fact you have loyalty points, something they might otherwise not be aware of.
How to protect your digital legacy
The Law Society recommends that you leave clear instructions about what should happen to your digital assets after your death especially as there is currently very little inheritance law in place in relation to this.
What you want to ensure is that your loved ones, and the executors of your Will, know not only of the existence of all your accounts, collections and assets, but also have the legal authority to access them.
Just allowing your accounts to be left open but dormant is also unsafe as identity fraudsters could hack into them and hijack personal details for their own use.
Key points to consider include:
- Leaving a list of all your digital assets, everything from online shopping accounts to social media, and where to find them;
- Remembering to mention any digital assets to your legal professional when making or updating your Will;
- Keeping an up-to-date list of your usernames and passwords, written out and kept ideally with the latest copy of your Will;
- Making it clear what you would like to happen to your digital assets after your death. For example, Facebook now allows members' profiles to be memorialised when they die. Is this something you want or not?
- Checking your online providers' policies so you know what their terms and conditions are when you die. This means you can not only take steps to preserve content for your loved ones, if that's what you want, but also to pass this information on to the executors of your Will.
Here at Wards Solicitors, we offer asset record sheets for you to itemise any paperless accounts. We can also securely and confidentially store a record of your passwords and PINs with your Will.
We contact you periodically to review your Will and this also acts as a reminder for you to update your asset record sheet.
For advice on making or updating a Will, please contact our Wills, Probate and Mental Capacity Team.