Where there’s a will, there’s an Apple
I’m always on at people about having their affairs in order. Make sure you’ve got proper terms and conditions. Don’t forget to have decent employment contracts. What about your will.
These days, however, just having a will isn’t likely to be enough, or at the very least, you might need to consider other related paperwork.
The most common additional paperwork is powers of attorney. Something that allows your nearest and dearest to look after you and your affairs whilst you’re still alive, but not capable of looking after them yourself.
However, the increase in technology has meant that other things need to be considered. When your time comes, under current law, anything on your personal accounts, such as your i phone or your Facebook page may not be accessible, even by your executors or beneficiaries. This means that unless people have your passwords and key codes, the only other way they can legally gain access is with a court order, which can be expensive with no guarantee of success.
Some may think that this is the likes of Apple and Facebook being difficult for the sake of being difficult. However, we are all entitled to privacy and you may want your family to be protected from knowing about mistakes you’ve made. If there are photographs you would rather that they didn’t see, or messages that you’d rather they didn’t read, you might not want them having unfettered access to all of your social media accounts, especially if you’re not around to explain what happened. Better that they remember you the way you want to be remembered.
As always, there are options. If you are an open book, and people can read everything and anything, then make sure your accounts are set to give people access, and that the people who need access know what the passwords are. Leave instructions that you give your full permission to anyone you hold an account with (such as Apple and Facebook) to give full access to your executors. If you’d rather keep some things private, then make sure the things that should be shared, such as photographs and videos, are backed up to a hard drive that is easy to find, so that the good memories don’t go with you.
If in doubt, take legal advice, even if that means having to explain to your solicitor what it is that you want to keep private. Trust me, I doubt there’s anything you’d done that they haven’t heard of before. After 30 years in law it really is impossible to shock me, although you’re welcome to try.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. An Apple a day keeps the law suit away.