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Apple’s New Digital Legacy Feature: How to Set a Person as your Legacy Contact

Apple has made a bold, necessary move that will affect the digital legacies of iPhone users everywhere. What does it mean? Keep reading to learn more!

Creating your Estate Plan usually brings up questions such as who you are going to leave your house to, which of the cherished family jewelry items will your children receive, and how you will choose to split up your inheritance for your children. One thing that may not be on your mind but should be, is your digital footprint. The presence you currently occupy online can include your multiple social media accounts, email accounts, and even your phone ID, such as your Apple ID.

Understanding the Digital Legacy that you will leave behind when you pass away is important to understand and be aware of. Here at Trust and Will, we understand the importance of this, and Apple has brought this topic to the light by actively making progress towards protecting people’s Digital Legacies. With Apple’s new Digital Legacy feature that allows you to appoint someone as your Legacy Contact, you are able to better protect yourself and your Digital Legacy. 

Now, you may have many questions about what a Digital Legacy refers to, what a Legacy Contact is, what a Legacy Contact’s responsibility may be, as well as how to go about using the new Digital Legacy feature on Apple. In this article, we will go over each of these topics to ensure that by the end of this article, you not only understand what a Digital Legacy is but also how to use the new Apple feature. 

What is a Digital Legacy?

A Digital Legacy is the information you leave behind on the internet about yourself after your death. This includes everything from social media accounts, emails, photos and videos stored online, websites, gaming profiles, Apple IDs, and more. Digital Legacies are much wider and broader than you may initially think. 

If you do not come up with a plan to take care of your Digital Legacy before you pass away, there is the chance that all information stored online may be up there forever. This can be an issue because it may be important to you to have limited information stored online after your death. Additionally, it can be distressful to others if your accounts remain active and after your death, or there may be important information that your relatives may need a way to access after your death. 

What is the Digital Legacy Feature on Apple?

Apple recently announced that in their iOS 15.2 update, there will be a new Digital Legacy Feature. The new feature on Apple allows you to designate someone to have access to your Apple ID information in the event that you pass away. This means they will have access to your Apple account after your death and also be able to access everything held within your iCloud storage through Apple. The person you choose to give this information to is known as your Legacy Contact, as they are the person who will have rights to access your Digital Legacy stored through Apple. 

How Does the Digital Legacy Feature Work?

Once iOS 15.2 goes live, you will be able to access the Digital Legacy feature by going into your Settings, clicking on your Apple ID, and selecting Password & Security. From here, you will be able to see a Legacy Contact button. Once you click on this button, you will be able to add the person you would like to designate as your Legacy Contact. Once you do this, you will be given an Access Key that you can share with your Legacy Contact through iMessages. 

How Will Your Legacy Contact Get Access Once You Die?

Once you pass away, your Legacy Contact will need two pieces of information to be able to access your Apple ID and iCloud after your death. First, they will need to provide the Access Key given to them once you made them your Legacy Contact. Therefore, it is important that they do not misplace the Access Key, because without it, they cannot access your Apple account. They will want to make sure that the Access Key number is stored in a safe space that is not easily accessible to others. 

Second, they will need to provide Apple with your death certificate to prove that you did in fact pass away and that they are not trying to access your account prematurely. Without these two items, they will not be permitted to access your account. 

Curious about what happens to other online or social media accounts after someone passes away? Check out our comprehensive guide, here

Choose Your Legacy Contact Wisely

After providing both pieces of information, your Legacy Contact will be able to access messages, notes, photos, videos, iCloud storage, and more. Because they will be receiving a lot of private and personal information, it is important to choose who you make as your Legacy Contact wisely. You will only want to give this information to someone you fully trust, and you know will use the information wisely and only for your benefit. 

It will also be important to notify your Legacy Contact that you want to make them your Legacy Contact beforehand. Being a Legacy Contact is a big responsibility that should not be taken lightly, and it is important to make sure they are comfortable with becoming your Legacy Contact prior to adding them as your Legacy Contact. 

Creating your Estate Plan can feel like a time-consuming and complicated process, and trying to determine who you should choose as your Legacy Contact may leave you feeling a bit uneasy. Trust and Will, the most trusted name in online estate planning, is ready to help guide you through the estate planning process by making it simple, thorough, and affordable. With our online estate planning services, you can create your Will, Trust-Based Estate Plan, and Nomination of Guardian documents all from the comfort of your own home computer. Not sure where to start? Take our free online assessment that can help you identify which estate planning documents are right for you. If after taking the quiz you think you may need additional assistance, we have you covered! We also offer attorney assistance for those who think it may be beneficial. Get started today!