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Reading: Creating a framework to support digital legacies in an Island setting


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Creating a framework to support digital legacies in an Island setting


Wendy Smith ,

Scholl Academic Centre, Hospice Isle of Man, GB
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Lonan Challis,

Scholl Academic Centre, Hospice Isle of Man, GB
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Anne Mills

Scholl Academic Centre, Hospice Isle of Man, GB
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Introduction: For most, wishes and preferences for end-of-life care are outlined in wills or advanced care plans (ACPs). However, these often do not encompass our digital lives, meaning that information on how bereaved loved ones can access and close down the deceased digital accounts are not passed on, including passwords. Digital assets may be owned by the deceased person, beneficiaries or the online service(s) used. Furthermore, digital information laws and policies, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), can obstruct this information being shared following death. As a result, loved ones may be unable to access precious and sentimental personal memories, photographs, videos and more.

Theory: It has been estimated that approximately 96% of households in Great Britain have internet access, with 76% of adults using internet banking.[1] Online accounts can span from social media and TV streaming to online banking and digital currency.

Use of these accounts after death is rarely considered by the general public. With the increasing use of electronic storage, more work needs to be done to ensure the safe and easy transfer of digital information before death. Digital legacies, defined as the digital information available about someone after their death, are one safety mechanism to ensure this process.

Highlights: In August 2021, the Compassionate IOM Community Network presented the concept of digital legacies to the IOM Chamber of Commerce Digital Forum who are responsible for actively promoting the digital sector. It was agreed that procedures would be updated to accept digital legacies and to identify best practices. Following this, a representative from the IOM Law Society presented it back to the Society. Collaboration between Compassionate IOM and the Law Society is ongoing through exploration of procedures that could be taken by local solicitors, such as prompting discussions during the will- or ACP-writing process. Advice could include making plans for digital assets, approving a digital executor, or simply encouraging people to leave their online affairs in order.

In addition to this, the IOM Government Department of Enterprise has recently released an open consultation on electronic transactions. The Compassionate IOM Community Network are lobbying the Government to extend this consultation to digital legacies and electronic death certificates.

Conclusions: While the work around digital legacies on the IOM remains in its infancy, a new framework is being constructed through collaboration between the IOM Law Society and Compassionate IOM.

Implications for applicability/transferability, sustainability and limitations: There remains work to be done to ensure that the process of digital legacies on the IOM is sustainable, uncomplicated and protects people when they are at their most vulnerable. Future work will aim to work with local banks to prompt discussions surrounding online banking post death.


1. Office for National Statistics. Internet access - households and individuals, Great Britain: 2020 [webpage on the internet]. [cited 2021 30 Nov]; updated 2020 Aug 7]. Available from: 

How to Cite: Smith W, Challis L, Mills A. Creating a framework to support digital legacies in an Island setting. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S3):264. DOI:
Published on 04 Nov 2022.


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