'Don’t leave your digital estate in the cloud'

Individuals who spend much of their time ‘in the cloud’ due to their professional or personal lives should make a start on their digital inheritance – before it’s too late.

Sounding the alert, Gardner Thorpe Solicitors said that because the siblings of parents who pass away no longer only squabble about physical items, digital estates are now a reality.

In fact, almost a third of Britons have considered their digital possessions as potential digital inheritance, according a study by cloud specialists Rackspace and the University of London.

And more than 10% of Brits have gone even further to safeguard their virtual assets – having set up passwords or passphrases to unlock their digital treasures in their will, or plan to do so.

But it’s not only the desire to pass down a digital inheritance to their loved ones that is motivating the users of Facebook, LinkedIn, DropBox and other cloud services to act.

“A very real danger is that the valuable contents of private cloud accounts will simply be lost upon the owner’s death”, said Steven Thorpe, partner at Garden Thorpe Solicitors.

“Either because the accounts are not known about by others or because access is not possible without the user and password details.”

Moreover, some cloud services deploy ‘social advertising,’ which uses a customer’s content to drive their adverts – content that, even when a person dies, they may want to keep private.

“Those people that aren’t already thinking, or doing something, about digital inheritance, should do so,” Mr Thorpe said.

“The good news is that drafting wills and including provision for digital inheritance is relatively cheap and straightforward.”

 

17th October 2012

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