Protecting your digital legacy for future generations - Boodle Hatfield

Your lawyers since 1722

13 Feb 2023

Protecting your digital legacy for future generations

Written by

Sophie Harcourt View profile
3 min read

The days of bringing out (or doing your best to hide) a physical photo album at family events and celebrations are a thing of the past. With technological advances in the last few decades, memories are now saved in albums in 'the cloud' and our holiday snaps are at our finger tips a millisecond after a photo is taken, rather than waiting a week for films to be processed. With this in mind, STEP launched their 'Protect your digital memories' campaign over the summer aimed at getting individuals and families thinking about the sentimental value of digital possessions such as photos, videos and social accounts. Digital technology has become integral to our personal lives and our digital possessions are becoming increasingly important too, yet many individuals do not consider how to ensure these are not lost or inaccessible in the event of their death or incapacity.

Digital accounts and profiles have terms and conditions which provide that these channels are private to the account holder and are not to be shared with third parties. This means that upon the event of death or incapacity, many family and friends are unable to access their loved one's accounts and as a result, lose sentimental digital assets. As part of their campaign, STEP have provided guidance on how to protect your digital memories by updating the legacy settings within your personal accounts. The STEP guidance offers clear instructions on how to use the legacy tools for accounts held with Facebook, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to ensure that your loved ones can access your photos and other assets in the event of your absence with the process only taking a few minutes to complete.

STEP have also issued a helpful document setting out a five-step guide in how to tackle the conversation surrounding your digital legacy and the importance of updating the legacy settings on digital accounts with family and friends. This encourages individuals to start talking, take action and to revisit the conversation regularly with loved ones to promote normalcy around the subject. STEP have also put together a video which can be shared through social media channels to help spread the word and educate more people on the importance of protecting digital assets.

Protecting legacies for the benefit of future generations is something we have done at Boodle Hatfield LLP for 300 years, however it is now more important than ever before to consider both your tangible and digital assets as part of your estate planning. If you have any concerns regarding your future planning, please do get in touch with our private wealth team.

Further information on the STEP campaign along with a number of additional resources can be found at this link.

STEP’s ‘Protect your digital memories for future generations’ public campaign focuses on sentimental digital possessions such as photos, videos and social accounts, and some simple actions people can take to ensure these aren’t lost or inaccessible in the event of their death or incapacity.

Written by