These days we use our phones to store some of our most pertinent data from financial records to photos of timeless family occasions. Apple users can easily store this data on their iPhone and on their iCloud accounts. And while it might be convenient for the user, upon the user’s death, access to this important data can be a frustrating and costly process for loved ones.
As an example, imagine a situation where a father loses his son and cannot access the content on his son’s iPhone. Apple will not just provide the father with the son’s login credentials without court intervention. In such a case, Apple will require a court order directing Apple to provide the login information. This can cause additional stress and impose a financial burden for an already grieving father.
Stories like this from all over the nation prompted an important update for iPhone users by Apple. Last month, they announced the new Digital Legacy feature. Apple users can now designate five “Legacy Contacts” to access their information in the event of their death.
Why This Matters From a Legal Perspective
As mentioned earlier, Apple users store important information in on their iPhone and their iCloud accounts, including but not limited to, financial records and stored passwords for digital assets. Whatever the case, these documents are often needed to complete probate proceedings. They may also be necessary to provide full access to assets so they can be transferred to the beneficiaries of the estate.
By designating the right people, Apple users can ensure timely and accurate delivery of their assets in the event of their death. They can also provide access to media containing cherished memories without going through an expensive legal process.
Who Should I Give Access to in Digital Legacy?
It would be advisable to name the same person who is named as Personal Representative and Trustee under your estate planning documents as your legacy contact on your Apple account. These are the individuals trusted to fulfill the wishes of the deceased and naming them as your legacy contact can help them carry out your wishes. Each situation is different, so it’s important for users to follow the advice of their financial and legal representatives before granting access.
How to Name a Legacy Contact?
If you would like to add a Legacy Contact to your Apple account you can follow the simple steps on Apple’s support page at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212360. Do not hesitate to reach out to Jason Siegel, Esq. with any question on this article or your estate planning needs.