Kingsfords Solicitors Banner Image

Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney & Advice for Older Clients

Digital Legacy Planning

Notwithstanding the fact that many aspects of our lives, are increasingly conducted on-line, the majority of us have not given thought to our own digital legacy when we die.

Many elements of our lives are touched, whether it be Social Media, money matters, photographs, music, emails and even which TV platforms and stores we use. Access to these life fundamentals are invariably password protected and increasingly employ two-stage authentication, being held on multiple devices, including mobile phones, lap-tops and  I-pads etc.

Regrettably, as the law currently stands, on your death, gaining access to a loved one’s digital existence can present a real challenge. Some tech platforms however such as Meta, Apple and Google do offer ‘legacy services’ to circumvent these issues. The problem being however, that such services, must be activated by the user whilst still alive. The reality is however that the majority of us may not even be aware such a facility exists within that account, let alone employ it.

Enabling your loved ones to manage all of your online accounts, in what will already be an emotionally difficult period, can be sensibly undertaken, by recording your digital wishes.

This may serve to both protect your privacy, whilst allowing the sharing of sentimental assets such as photographs, as appropriate, by controlling permission to who may access and deal with your multiple accounts.

Making a will is often the start point to plan for your Digital legacy.

When thinking about who you would wish to appoint as an Executor of your will you naturally think about who would have appropriate qualities, such as being trustworthy, reliable, and methodical. That Executor could also be your “digital executor” empowered to deal with the online aspects of your life, or you could expressly nominate a separate “Digital Executor”, who may be more IT literate and is empowered to manage those aspects of the Estate process.

Make sure any computer savvy person you have in mind for that task is happy to act and explain your wishes to them.  As a precaution you could create a ‘letter of wishes’ to accompany your will, documenting all of your digital accounts and their user names etc., and providing clear instructions how you wish the account to be dealt with. Passwords should be kept separately, or you may well be in breach of the terms and conditions of the account owner.

The will itself can document who the Digital Executor is to be and make provision for that person to act in accordance with the letter of wishes. This is important, as simply passing all of your ‘log in’ information to a friend, is insufficient, as they will not be recognised in law.

Consideration can also be given to appointing your solicitors, to safely retain a Register of all of your online accounts, with user name details etc that may be up-dated over time. This  will prove to be a useful reference tool to your Executor, (and/or Digital Executor) when the time comes.   

This is not an exhaustive list but could make provision for :-

  • Social Media Accounts – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, What’s App etc.
  • Finances – Current and Savings accounts. Investments, Share dealing Accounts, Credit Cards, Store cards, Amazon account etc.
  • Email – including attachments.
  • Miscellaneous – TV Platforms, Netflix etc., Music such as Spotify, Photo-sharing accounts, the Cloud etc.
  • Hardware – Mobile phones, Laptops, Chrome books, PCs, I-Pads, Kindles & Tablets.

As unfortunately the law has not kept up to speed with the roll out of these technologies, it is even more important to protect these digital assets now, to secure your legacy in the future.

Should this article resonate with you please do not hesitate to get in touch with our wills, probate and power of attorney solicitors & lawyers.

Contact our offices in Ashford, Cranbrook or Hythe or give us a call. 

  • Marcus Parsons
      • View profile
  • Julie Granger
      • View profile
  • Adam Luke
      • Adam Luke
      • Director - Co-head of Wills, Probate and Powers of Attorney
      • View profile
  • Elizabeth Isaac-Garner
      • View profile
  • Corrina Sewell-Hill
      • View profile
  • Taya Thorogood
      • View profile
  • Michaela Clifford
      • View profile