Last year we discussed generally what happens to your digital accounts when you die: you can read the article here.
We now report on updates during the last year.
On 13 December 2021, during the release of its iOS 15.2 update, Apple officially released its Digital Legacy feature, which lets people choose the specific people (up to five family members or friends) who will be able to access their account after they die. The chosen contacts will then be able to access data stored in iCloud, like photos and documents, after the original user dies, so long as they have a special access key and a copy of the death certificate.
This feature is accessed through Settings on the iPhone, and then selecting Password & Security and then choosing the Legacy Contact option. An access code will be received and Apple advises users to keep it in a safe place with their other estate planning documents. The selected Digital Legacy contacts will then need to provide that code and a death certificate to access the account.
Access can be granted through this link for Legacy contacts: https://digital-legacy.apple.com/.
You can now choose to either have your account permanently deleted or Facebook will ‘memorialize’ your account if they become aware of your passing. Further information can be found: https://br-fr.facebook.com/help/contact/651319028315841
The Law Society recently commissioned a survey which found that 93% of people who have made a Will had not included any provision for digital assets and only 7% of people said that they fully understood what would happen to their digital assets when they die.
By not considering what will happen to your digital assets after your death can cause real problems when administering an estate if family members and personal representatives cannot access online banking accounts.
Would you really want your spouse, children, partner looking through your digital content? Some people are of the opinion they would not mind loved ones dealing with their personal information online, however, other people would rather ensure that they name the person they would like to deal with assets of a digital nature. By thinking ahead in regards to who you would like to deal with the information and who should have your photos and emails for example, you can help to avoid potential family disputes and disagreements over who can access these items.
What can I do to protect my digital assets?
By putting a Will in place that includes instructions for dealing with digital assets you can name who you would like to deal with your digital content and what should happen to the information after your death. Regardless of whether your digital content has any financial value, it is essential to consider what will happen to the digital version of you after your death.
It is very important to seek professional advice to ensure everything is correctly in place and Barrett and Co Solicitors are here to guide you through the process of making a Will. Barrett and Co Solicitors have specialist legal professionals who will sit down with you to discuss what assets you have, whether digital or not, to make sure you have a Will that you understand and with which you are comfortable.
Get in Touch
Please do not hesitate to telephone 0118 958 9711 or email [email protected] and someone from the team will be in touch to assist you.