The Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) recently launched a new “Protect your Digital Memories” campaign. The campaign aims to increase awareness and encourage people to protect their digital memories. STEP is calling for both the government and digital service providers to do more to help people put plans in place and also provide support to families and loved ones wanting to gain access to a deceased’s account. But why is protecting your digital assets and memories so important?
In this article, we look at why it is worthwhile to put plans in place that protect your digital memories for your loved ones when you pass away and how you can do this.
Why should I think about protecting my digital memories?
In 2022, so much of our lives and memories are digitally stored in photos, videos, social media accounts, emails, and cloud storage – to name only a few. But, just like physical and monetary assets, digital memories can be as important to people.
In what circumstances might my loved ones need to access my digital accounts?
There are a number of circumstances where your family and loved ones may need to access your digital accounts should you lose capacity or when you pass away, including:
- To access things that hold sentimental value to you or your ones
- To protect your privacy
- Take care and safeguard any financial property you might have.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what will happen to their digital memories and assets should they become incapacitated or pass away. Without adequate planning, these could be lost forever or create further problems down the line.
How to protect your digital memories
There are several steps that you can take that are fairly simple but could prove extremely helpful to your loved ones further down the line.
Update your legacy settings
Many social media and internet platforms that we use daily, such as Apple, Google and Facebook, have tools allowing you to decide how your account can be accessed when you are no longer here or can do so yourself.
If you do not nominate a legacy contact, accounts can be very difficult, potentially impossible, to access. Updating your legacy settings should only take a few minutes, but doing this will give you the peace of mind that these accounts can still be accessed.
Communicate with your loved ones
While no one wants to think about a time when you are no longer here or cannot make decisions for yourself, it is important to talk to family and friends about your wishes. Having these conversations now can save a lot of time and stress for your loved ones in the future. Out of these discussions, you may even start sharing things with them now, such as photos and videos.
Use cloud storage
Cloud-storage makes it easy to store and back up your digital files, including important information and more sentimental items. Keeping everything in the cloud and ensuring your loved ones can gain access to this can make things a lot easier when you are no longer around.
Seek legal advice
If you have any concerns about what might happen to your digital estate, you can also contact a legal adviser to advise you on how to plan effectively.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.