Estate Planning from your Phone

Estate Planning from Your Phone

That phone in our pockets could launch any of us to the moon. The days of maybe having a phone and a computer have evolved to having a computer in our phone that fits in the palm of our hand. Computing power has increased exponentially. Indeed, a rough estimate puts a single phone’s computing power to be about 250 million times more powerful than the computers used to support the 1969 moon landing. The possibilities for what our phones might do in the future border on science fiction. 

Concurrently, the amount of information we share, and store has also increased. Phones and computers have become more sophisticated and can hold our entire life and personal information in a tiny chip. Have you ever thought about what would happen with all the data on your phone if you were to pass away?

Most of us don’t think of the future this way, fortunately, you have us. We are always thinking about people’s futures, their assets, and their families. This is why we want to let you in on one of Apple’s newest feature releases. Much to our surprise, this release involved the estate planning world.

Apple released iOS 15.2 in December 2021. This new update allows its users to add a legacy contact to their account. This means that when you pass away, your legacy contact will be able to access all your data. This includes photos, messages, contacts, and passwords for other accounts.  While there aren’t significant statistics regarding how many users have activated this feature, if general estate planning statistics are used, you should consider being one of the educated 1 in 4 people getting this done.

How do you do it? Here is the step-by-step guide to turning on this feature:

  1. Ensure that the contact you want to appoint as your legacy contact is in your address book and that all their information is current and correct. Once you have confirmed that their information is correct, go to settings > Apple  ID* > Password & Security > Legacy Contact > Add Legacy Contact

*To find the Apple ID option, click on the very first option on settings at the very top. It is usually a picture of yourself and your name. 

  • Follow the on-screen steps and you’ll be prompted to share an access key with the contact you have chosen. You have 2 options for sharing the access key:
    • Print out the access key 
    • Send your legacy contact an invite through iMessage
  • If you decide to send it via iMessage, you can personalize the message to include additional information. The recipient will receive a link that will take them to a prompt for them to confirm that they are to be a legacy contact.
  • Once they have confirmed, you will receive an email showing that they are now a legacy contact.

Android Phones and Google

For you Android folks, your Google account will be a significant factor in your online identity. If you saved bills such as a home mortgage or financial statements on your Gmail or Google Drive, this access can be instrumental for your loved one after your death. The most straightforward way to access your Android phone and Google account is to purposely leave your password with your loved one or let them know how they can access the password in a legal document such as a Will. If this information is not given to the executor of the estate, then it will make their life complicated to access your information.

Google will work with next-of-kin who have legal documentation to show they have the ability to access your account. However, they will not supply passwords for any reason. 

In order to make it easier to access your Google account for your loved one, you can set up access to your accounts by using Inactive Account Manager. This will allow access to an inactive account for a certain amount of time, such as if you die. It can also allow certain people to be notified. 


When someone dies their Facebook page becomes a memorial of their memory where friends and family pay tribute to them. You can nominate a legacy contact in Facebook settings to manage your memorialized account with limited access. This will allow them to curate a tribute on your Facebook page. The deceased’s timeline will not be affected by the change in status. Facebook will not allow anyone under 18 years old to be a legacy contact however, they do allow parents to memorialize their children.

If you decide not to nominate someone as your legacy contact and Facebook becomes aware of your death, they will automatically memorialize your page. Furthermore, Facebook will also add a Remembering label on your profile for your friends and family to be aware of your passing. 


LinkedIn will allow its members to also be memorialized with the required information and legal documentation. This information can be requested to memorialize or close an account. If you don’t have access to the deceased’s account, then you can report a member as deceased. Once an account is memorialized then the account is locked. LinkedIn will not disclose any information to anyone including family members for any reason. If an account is marked to be deleted then, it can take up to 30 days to completely delete the data from the LinkedIn program. 

This is a great way to ensure that your data is not lost, but as with anything related to estate and incapacity planning, make sure that you leave your data in the right hands. 

Now, that you have updated your phone and some of your social media with your legacy, what is the next step for the rest of your Estate Plan? We are happy to speak with you about the next steps for your family, business, and more. Call us at 954-237-4011 or email us at to schedule a conversation starter. It’s never too early or late to start planning for the future.