We live increasingly digital lives. But how many of us have planned a good digital legacy?

Seven in ten of those making a will leave no instructions about their online assets – or even a list of passwords – when they die.

But both solicitors and financial advisers can help change that. (Advertising feature.)

Over 24 million UK adults have made a Will; two thirds of them with a solicitor or Will writer’s help.

Kip Katesmark

Kip Katesmark

Yet seven in ten of those Wills2 won’t reference that person’s digital legacy – what they want to happen to their ‘digital assets’ after they’re gone. That includes accessing investments and bank accounts, managing or deleting Facebook or Instagram profiles, or transferring precious family photos.

What we mean by digital legacy

A digital legacy is the sum total of all the digital information that exists about us – and that ‘digital footprint’ can last well beyond our own lifetime.

Planning a digital legacy allows a person to control who can access their digital accounts and assets when they’re no longer around. That ‘digital heir’ can delete, cancel, memorialise, or take over assets after someone dies.

Creating that legacy as part of the natural process of writing a Will or arranging a Power of Attorney helps make sure that digital assets aren’t locked behind a password forever.  

Keeping track of digital assets

As a solicitor, you’ll know that many Wills you write for your clients won’t be looked at again until they’re read. Someone’s digital profile, however, evolves almost constantly. Across the UK, 46 million3 of us use online or remote banking, but often keep no record of passwords or usernames except in our heads.

Password-protecting our online accounts has become part of our daily lives too – and remembering all our different passwords can be as frustrating as remembering where you left the car keys. Not only that, but we’re encouraged to change our passwords regularly and never to share with others.

But for digital legacies, recording that information and keeping it up to date is vital. Unlike a Will, which may never be changed or updated, digital legacies require diligence to keep on top of new accounts and passwords.

The regular six monthly or annual financial reviews that advisers have with their clients can be a useful opportunity to capture digital data changes.

Helping clients to plan digital legacies

As solicitors and financial advisers, we help people with their legacy planning every day – and increasingly that means planning their digital legacy too.  Our recent research revealed that over two fifths of our clients at SJP (43%) have asked their adviser to manage their digital legacy on their behalf. And we’re always happy to help solicitors to support their clients too.

Three ‘digital legacy’ questions you could be asking your clients

•    Whether they've considered what they’d want to happen to their digital assets?

•    Who they want to look after their digital affairs after they die?

•    Whether they have a financial planner with whom they’ve already discussed their digital legacy?

Together we can help make sure that someone’s digital legacy isn’t overlooked.

St. James’s Place and The Law Society

St. James’s Place is proud to be in partnership with The Law Society of England and Wales, and to support Law Society members with financial advice throughout their professional careers.

If you’d like to speak to an adviser do get in touch with us today.

Will writing and Powers of Attorney involve referrals to services that are separate and distinct to those offered by St. James’s Place. Wills and Powers of Attorney are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The ‘St. James’s Place Partnership’ and the titles ‘Partner’ and ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives. Members of the St. James’s Place Partnership in the UK represent St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc., which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc. Registered Office: St. James’s Place House, 1 Tetbury Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 1FP, United Kingdom. Registered in England Number 4113955.

SJP approved 22/04/2024


1  National Wills Report survey commissioned in 2023, research conducted by Research without Barriers from 1,004 respondents.

2   Research conducted for St. James’s Place by Opinium, September 2023 among 4,000 UK adults.

3  Censuswide survey of 2,000 UK adults commissioned by Finder, January 2024      


St James's Place

Kip Katesmark
Senior copywriter on consumer affairs and the arts


Click here for our website