Interview with founder of My Digital Legacy

A new online cloud service designed to deliver digital certainty after death has been launched.

My Digital Legacy solves the problem of sharing legal and sentimental documents and photos after bereavement. Founder, Stuart Pembery said he believes the time has come for change of the way in which documentation, photographs and important policies are secured. Today’s Wills and Probate spoke to Stuart Pembery about the service and the inspiration that led to its launch.

Why did you launch My Digital Legacy?

Most people do not realise how hard it can be to manage loved-ones computer documents and photos I believe that the time has come for change in the way documentation, photographs and important policies are secured.

The world has never been more acutely aware of the fragility of life. COVID-19 has seen families across the country examine how they need to prepare and realising that in a digital age you cannot rely on physical documentation.

Insurance policies and other official documentation are now delivered digitally, as are bank statements. The move to a more sustainable future is likely to see efforts to create a paperless society continue.

Sadly accessing these documents after death can be problematic. Including digital data in a will does not solve this challenge as essential information may be impossible to access and the Computer Misuse Act (1990) prohibits impersonation after death. Similar services have become popular in the United States and My Digital Legacy is the first to offer such a service that complies with U legislation.

What is My Digital Legacy?

My Digital Legacy is a service that ensures that all photos and documents are shared with family and friends safely and easily when the time is right, with a unique and elegant solution to solve our legal system’s inability to keep pace with the internet age.

I have designed My Digital Legacy to ensure that an individual has the opportunity to place any documentation and memories are stored on a secure site, confident that after their death they will only be delivered to the nominated family or friends.

How does it work?

Using secure Microsoft technology, the data is secured by a password retained by the customer so My Digital Legacy cannot read the files and client privacy is total. Every month, My Digital Legacy tests the link and then sends an email to attest that the site is secure and operational. When the time is right, My Digital Legacy will share that link with the client’s executors after the granting of probate or administration of a Power of Attorney.

How does the service benefit the practitioners?

There are a number of benefits to practitioners:
a) Completeness – No estate plan is complete without a digital assets plain place.
b) Currency – technology and web sites change all the time – My Digital Legacy will keep the practitioners’ clients up to date.
c) Peace of mind – knowing that the executorship will run smoothly when the time is right.

Is it safe?

Your link is protected and we do not know the password so there is no risk of your information leaking. It is impossible for us or anybody else to use your link without the password.

What are or have been your biggest obstacles/challenges?

The biggest challenge is customer reach. With only 25% of the population writing wills at all, explaining the importance of a digital legacy is my biggest single challenge and getting the message out there that one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family is to write a will. I’m sure many of your readers will agree.

How much does it cost and can I earn commission?

The service is great value at £25pa with a £25 setup fee. Yes, we would be delighted to discuss commission terms.

How do I sell the service?

As part of our launch of My Digital Legacy, we are targeting Will and Probate professionals and estate planners as a key distribution channel for the product, sitting alongside the sale of life products and funeral plans.

Can the service be cancelled? If so, are there any penalties?

If an individual changes their mind, they have the ability to have the link deleted.

You can cancel any time before the start of your scheduled appointment for a full refund. You can also terminate at any time, and we will stop any future payment requests within one working day.

What if the individual lives abroad?

We can provide our service to customers in over 30 different countries.

What if the individual wants to change their will or their executor?

No problem, nothing needs to change. Let us know and the link can be shared with the right person or people when the time is right.

What about passwords and PINS?

My Digital Legacy does not store passwords.

It is an offence under The Computer Misuse Act 1990 for anyone to impersonate another online and this includes an Executor or anybody else using a password to access Facebook, email or any other of your accounts.

Our clients can download a template that can be used to record all your Internet account details. If you store it in your My Digital Legacy folder, all this account information will be available at the appropriate time.

Many social media sites like Facebook now offer legacy management settings. My Digital Legacy keeps its customers up to date with the latest settings.

Can I share different stored documents with different people?

Yes

What about Privacy and GDPR? Why are they relevant?

We live in a data-driven world. Almost every transaction and interaction you have with most organisations involves you sharing personal data, such as your name, address and birth date. You share data online too, every time you visit a website, search for or buy something, use social media or send an email.

Sharing data, helps make life easier, more convenient and connected. However, your data is your data. It belongs to you so it is important your data be used only in ways you would reasonably expect, and that it stays safe. Data protection law makes sure everyone’s data is used properly and legally.

My Digital Legacy will never share any of your details and we are registered with the Information Commissioners Office the ICO as a Data Processor.

Today's Wills and Probate