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Apple's "Digital Legacy"--Preserving Access for Loved Ones Through iCloud Plus

This summer, Apple announced the “Digital Legacy” program. In the event of your passing, instead of denying family or loved ones access to vital files, photographs, and other content if they do not know your passwords, the Digital Legacy program allows designated users access to your iCloud account and personal information. In the past, we’ve had to litigate this repeatedly for family members to access the pictures, contacts, files and so on—which took a lot of time, effort, and money.

As part of the iOS 15 release, you will be allowed to designate “Legacy Contacts” who will be allowed to access your iCloud account and personal information upon your death. This designation will allow a Legacy Contact to access your photos and videos. Legacy Contacts will also be able to view emails, notes, and restore data from an iCloud backup. However, the Legacy Contact will not have access to payment information, subscriptions, licensed media, or Keychain information.

To obtain a deceased person's data, a Legacy Contact will need the approved legal contact Apple ID set up prior to death, along with a copy of the death certificate. The Legacy Contact will then have a set amount of time to access the data. A simple Google search for “iOS 15 Digital Legacy Program” will bring you several articles to help you set up the program. You can find additional information at https://digital-legacy.apple.com.

The Digital Legacy program will indeed create ease of access for your loved ones, but the program will only be a benefit if you take the time to utilize the program and make your designations. Otherwise, your important files and digital content may be locked and litigated just as so many have been in the past.

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Yvette L. Ashworth

Yvette Ashworth is a native Texan, graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in Accounting. After graduating magna cum laude from Georgia State University School of Law, Yvette settled down with her husband near the beach in Florida. Four kids later and following thousands of hours devoted to her children, the Boy Scouts of Amercia, Parent-Teacher Associations, booster clubs, and her church, Yvette moved to Arizona to start practicing law full-time at Johnson & Associates.

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