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Digital Legacy

When a person dies, their estate is passed to those whom the deceased has named in their Will, and traditionally this includes property (perhaps their home), artefacts (such as watches, jewellery, and heirlooms), and money (like savings, shares, and investments). What is often overlooked however, are the digital belongings for example photos that may be stored online, or even hosted on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This is what here Thornton Jones Solicitors, we call a person’s 'Digital Legacy'. Omitting to plan your Digital Legacy may mean that precious memories are inaccessible by your beneficiaries and essentially lost forever.

What is a Digital Legacy?

With the advent of the digital era, we find more and more that our life events exist in a digital format. No longer do we print out photos and store them in an album. With applications including Dropbox and Google Drive, the physical assets that we might have previously 'handed down' no longer exist.

These days, a digital footprint is commonplace, however up until recently, consideration of this when making a Will has been sparse if considered at all, which is why we have introduced a service that allows you to properly consider what your digital footprint is and how you'd like this to be handed down when you die - if indeed you wish for it to be handed down at all.

At time of writing, there are numerous online applications which may form part of your digital footprint and should be considered when documenting your wishes for your digital legacy when you die. These include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Snapchat
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon Photos
  • Kindle
  • iCloud
  • LinkedIn

This is not an exhaustive list and with the rapid introduction of new digital offerings is likely to grow. Often steps need to be taken now in your lifetime to protect your Digital Legacy and cannot be provided for in your Will.

How can we help with your Digital Legacy?

Our team have researched heavily and are continually researching the new digital applications which may result in a new opportunity for your digital footprint. We can help you identify what your digital footprint is and help you document accurately what your wishes are in regard to your digital footprint. This will include:

  • Which applications you use
  • What choices there may be for each application
  • What steps can and must be taken now to plan for what should happen if you die
  • How those named as beneficiaries can gain access to your digital assets

Frequently Asked Questions about Digital Legacy

What is a Digital Legacy?

A 'digital legacy' is the digital assets, such as photographs, online profiles, and cloud storage, that an individual leaves behind after their death. Whilst alive, an individual will create a digital footprint and when they die their footprint will persist. What is left is known as their digital legacy.

How do I access a deceased's online photo storage?

Access to online assets, which includes digitally stored photographs, can only be attained by the owner whilst alive unless they have given express permission for you to access them either whilst alive or after death. If no arrangement has been made by the owner of the digital assets whilst alive then it is unlikely that you will be able to gain access. To avoid such an instance it is advisable to check the requirements of whomever you store your photos with now (as all are different) and follow those steps to ensure that access can be obtained after your death.

Contact our Digital Legacy solicitors in Yorkshire

To access expert legal support with mapping our your digital footprint and planning your Digital Legacy, contact our Digital Legacy solicitors, or complete our online enquiry form and we will be in touch.

We help clients across Yorkshire and the surrounding areas, including from our offices in WakefieldOssettGarforthSherburn in Elmet and Mapplewell. Our solicitors also assist clients across London and the rest of UK.