I have written a couple of times over the last few years about digital legacies (here and here) and how this area is constantly evolving, as the law and technology companies adapt to user demand in this relatively uncharted territory.
The crux of the issue is how we manage a person’s digital assets after they die, ensuring the deceased’s wishes are adhered to and providing the survivors with a clear process for accessing any assets their loved one wants to make available to them.
At the end of last year there was a step forward that should make the process significantly easier. Apple launched a legacy contact feature that allows account holders to nominate up to five family members or friends who will be able to access their iCloud after they die.
How it works
The function was included in the new iOS 15.2 update, which was rolled out by Apple in December. Once updated, the new software allows user to enable the ‘Legacy Contact’ feature and then nominate five trusted contacts.
These contacts will be sent an ‘access key’ code of letters and numbers which is to be used along with an official death certificate, to gain access.
It’s worth noting that once they grant access to the iCloud, users aren’t able to differentiate which data or digital assets they make accessible – it’s a case of all or nothing.
Nevertheless this is positive progress and another step in the direction of bringing the management of digital assets in line with the management of financial and property assets.
If you’d like some help with drawing up your will or making plans for your estate – digital or otherwise – please get in touch.