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New iPhone Update Includes Digital Legacy

by | Jun 23, 2021 | News | 0 comments

A big update from tech giants Apple will include a privacy feature that will make it easier to pass on your account and personal information after you die.

According to Wales Online, Apple will be introducing the new function as part of its iOS 15 update, which will allow you to nominate people who will have access to your digital legacy after you have died. These ‘legacy contacts’ will be able to access your account and personal information.

Apple Cloud Services vice-president Mike Abbott said this week: “We don’t often think about it, but it’s important that we can easily pass down information to family members or friends when we pass away.

“You’ll now be able to add people to your account as legacy contacts so when you’re gone, they can simply request access and your information can be passed along, quickly and easily.”

Previously, Apple has required a court order and a grant of probate to permit access to its cloud storage in the UK, and to help prevent this, probate solicitors in Epsom advise making ‘digital wills’ that identify executors who can manage your digital estate.

The digital age in which we live means that as well as our physical belongings and estate, more and more people will have an entire cyber existence to consider, from social media accounts such as Facebook or Instagram to web and cloud-based photo libraries, personal documents, and online financial accounts, as well as many more.

Many people keep their usernames and passwords in their heads, so what happens if they die without being able to pass on that information? It can take months to close down some accounts, and that is only if you know they existed, to begin with.

With this need in mind, there have been a few new businesses that deal with this issue. The basic objective of these websites is – for a small subscription fee – to store all vital information, personal messages, and other digital files on your behalf.

Should the inevitable happen, the site then emails access to this digital vault to your nominated people, whether that’s family, a friend, or your solicitor.

These websites all state that security is paramount, and that they all have failsafe measures to ensure the information is not sent out by mistake, and most will need your solicitor and/or two nominated ‘verifiers’ with a death certificate as proof before any information can be released.

Some platforms, for instance, Google and Facebook, already allow users to nominate someone who can access their account after their death, known as legacy or trusted contacts. These legacy contacts will need to provide a copy of your death certificate to gain access, however, this does not include access to payment information or subscriptions.

The new Apple feature, which will arrive with the new iOS 15 operating system later in the year, will not permit access to a passcode-locked device, so this should be included in a digital will if you want someone to inherit your technology hardware.

Finally, it is vital to remember that a digital will does not replace a Last Will and Testament, and in the UK, only a signed by ink by appropriate witnesses will be legally recognised. If you need help or advice about wills, get in touch today.