Planning your Digital Legacy

Have you thought about what happens to your digital data after you're gone? Here's what you need to know.

Memories used to be stored in photo albums; important documents, certificates and contracts were physical paper – but in this internet era, a lot of your personal information is now stored in the cloud. So, what happens to your digital data when you are no longer around to log in?

It might be a morbid thought, but if you use social media to journal important memories, it may be essential for you to consider. Not being able to manage your online presence and allowing your public accounts to lay dormant could be painful and upsetting for those you leave behind. So, planning who can access your online profiles is important.

If you’re old enough and wise enough to have arranged a will, your executor (the person assigned to carry out the terms of the will) will also have legal standing to access your digital assets: online accounts, websites, etc. 

In recent years, an increasing number of platforms have added legacy features, making it easier for you to plan ahead, letting you choose which data can be accessed and by who. However, they all have their own unique access requirements and set-up processes.

Apple’s ‘legacy contacts’ feature allows you to generate and share a unique access key with your nominated contacts who you choose to access to your device’s data. After your death, they can make an access request using the access key you sent them and proof of your death to be able to see your digital information. This allows them to view and backup your device’s data for up to 3 years after their request’s approval. After that, your account and all its information will be permanently deleted.

Google (who own YouTube and Gmail) has introduced an ‘inactive account manager’ setting, allowing you to safeguard your data by choosing a timescale for your account to remain inactive before up to 10 of your nominated contacts are notified, granting them access to the data of your choosing.

Facebook also allows you to add a ‘legacy contact’ to manage and ‘memorialise’ your posts or (if you choose) delete your account. Although they will be able to request further information about your account, they will not be able to access your messages or make any changes to your friends list.

Instagram, despite also being owned by Meta, does not have this option. Your loved one can either choose to memorialise your account or delete it permanently. Neither option will allow them to access any of the personal data held on your account.

Twitter, LinkedIn and Microsoft are all a little behind the curve and have not yet introduced a legacy contact option. 

Therefore we recommend you leave details of all your digital assets – accounts, usernames and passwords – with a family member or trusted friend who can help carry out your wishes. This is especially useful for platforms where nominating a legacy contact isn’t possible.

If you would like support and guidance on drafting your will or further help with making provisions for your digital legacy, please do not hesitate to contact Baron Grey’s Wills and Probate team on 0208 891 4311 for a free no-obligation initial consultation.

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If you would like us to call you, please click through to complete our contact form and one of our solicitors will be delighted to call you back.

David Thorley


David works on civil litigation with a particular interest in disputes arising from wills, probate and trusts. Beyond this, he has experience with claims in a range of fields including: employment; property/landlord and tenant; company law/insolvency; construction; and debt recovery.

David qualified as a solicitor in 2022 having previously worked in academia and journalism. This background has given him a clear-sighted perspective on the cases he handles, a ready appreciation of the complex issues at stake, and a pragmatic approach to advising clients.

Chris Wright


Chris initially qualified and practiced at the Bar for several years before going into industry with two major UK construction and engineering companies. He left this position to become a senior partner at a law firm where he handled a range of domestic and international construction and engineering law matters. He was an Adjudicator on the TeCSA panel, and acted as a reviewer for the FIDIC White Book Conditions. He has contributed to a text book on BIM and Quantity Surveying. 

Chris remains a member of the Society of Construction Law where he brings his experience as a consultant on construction law matters. He is also a practising Mediator and Arbitrator, being both an FCIArb and an Associate of the Civil Mediation Council.

Peter Arnstein


Peter qualified as a solicitor following his training with a firm on Richmond Green and has since worked with firms on both sides of the river. Initially specialising in criminal law and dispute resolution, he later brought the forensic skills he had acquired to residential and commercial conveyancing, Wills and Probate. His approach in acting for clients has always been to look for problems and offer solutions.  

Peter is delighted to have now joined Baron Grey where he continues to look after clients old and new, seeking to provide an approachable and professional service to all.

Contact Us

Feel free to get in touch with us via phone or email, or complete the form and one of our solicitors will be delighted to call you back.

James Atkins

Associate Solicitor

James is a private client solicitor specialising in wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estate administration. He graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in English Literature in 2013 and went on to complete his law conversion course at BPP University. 

James trained at Baron Grey and after a sabbatical in Russia has recently re-joined the firm. James has a very friendly and approachable manner and is an asset to Baron Grey.

Lara Symons


Lara Symons qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and has specialised in all aspects of Immigration Law since then. Lara was formally the head of the Immigration Appeals Team at White Ryland Solicitors in Shepherds Bush, before moving to Spain for four years with her family.

Lara joined Baron Grey in 2013 and now works for the firm dealing with a wide range of immigration and probate matters.

Minnie Waite


Minnie Waite joined Baron Grey in 2017 as a conveyancer having worked in the City for many years.

She has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with all aspects of conveyancing transactions and has studied the License Conveyancing course. Minnie specialises in freehold/leasehold, enfranchisement, has some commercial experience and advises on mortgages.

She is extremely approachable and friendly and a great addition to the Baron Grey team.

Ben Hall

Solicitor Advocate

Ben Hall is an experienced solicitor who re-joined Baron Grey solicitors in early 2018, having originally trained under Vincent in 2006.

Ben specialises in criminal defence work and regularly represents clients from the investigatory stage all the way through to the Crown Court and Court of Appeal, where he has had notable success.

Ben has expanded his practice into civil litigation with a particular emphasis on commercial and probate disputes.

Emma Faulkner


After being awarded a 2:1 degree in Law from the University of Reading, Emma joined Baron Grey in 2012. Since then, she has successfully completed the Legal Practice Course part-time obtaining a Distinction, and qualifying as a solicitor in February 2016.

Emma assists the litigation team and specialises in Family Law, including divorce and financial proceedings. Emma also deals with the niche area of Private Client Law concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney. She follows the footsteps of her grandfather who worked for Baron Grey as a senior legal assistant.

Vincent Hambleton-Grey


After graduating in Law in London, Vincent joined the firm in 1990 as a newly qualified solicitor. He specialises in litigation and company commercial work as well as employment and matrimonial matters. 

He is passionate about representing those who do not always have a fair voice in the community and his clients vary from local people to many small businesses in the area. Whenever possible, Vincent’s aim is always to meet and discuss matters with all new clients personally first. 

Born in Swansea, South Wales, he moved to London as an undergraduate and has lived in Twickenham since 1994. He is married with two daughters.