Protecting and passing on your digital memories to your loved ones

Charlotte Warren

Article written by Charlotte Warren, Solicitor, Private Client department

In June 2022, the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) launched a new “Protect your Digital Memories” campaign. The campaign strives 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 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?

Why should I think about protecting my digital memories?

These days, so much of our lives and memories are digitally stored in photos, videos, social media accounts, emails, and cloud storage – to name just 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 pass away or lose capacity, 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 web platforms that we use daily 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  people do not want to think about a time when  they are no longer here or cannot make decisions for themselves, it is important to talk to family and friends about future wishes. Having these conversations now can save a lot of time and stress for loved ones in the future. You may even start sharing photos and videos with them now.

Use cloud storage

Cloud-storage makes it easy to store and back up 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, feel free to contact the Private Client department at Grant Saw who can advise you on how to plan effectively.

To discuss this article in further detail or for more information on a Private Client matter, please email me or contact the department on 020 8858 6971.