Digital Estate Planning

A few weeks ago, the Law Society of South Africa held it’s National Wills Week, an initiative that allows you to have a will drafted for free. Though it’s now too late to get this done by an attorney for no charge, you really should create one if you haven’t already.

Since I’d already had a will drawn up a few years ago, my focus shifted to making sure that my “digital estate” was also taken care of in case of the inevitable. I didn’t want photos and videos or essential documents to be trapped behind logins that nobody knew, lost to the digital void. Also, all my devices will be rendered inoperable and basically become e-waste. For my protection while alive, I didn’t want to give away usernames and passwords available in plaintext that anyone could use to login before it was necessary.

Google and Apple logins are the gatekeepers of my devices and information. Luckily they both have methods to hand over access should you pass away:

Apple’s Legacy Contact

Here’s an explainer video:

And a link to Apple’s documentation here.

Google’s Inactive Account Manager

Here’s an explainer video:

And a link to Google’s documentation here. Note that this will kick in if your account is “not active” per Google’s determination.

Commentary and Closing

For my readers, this is likely the most important blog post you’ll read and one that’s essential for you to implement. Seriously, watch the videos and follow the instructions NOW. Physical documents and photos can easily be transferred but their digital equivalents can easily be trapped and essentially “lost”. It gives me great peace of mind knowing that I’ve set these features up! That said, there are limitations to these tools (eg. No access to passwords saved in your iCloud Keychain) where more research is needed to see how to hand those over!

If you have any questions/would like to share your experience with digital estate planning, leave a reply below. To receive an email when I publish a post, subscribe here.

(Featured image remixed from this photo)

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