News and Events

Apple refused grieving sons' request to unlock iPad that belonged to cancer victim mother because 'they need dead woman's written consent'

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“Anthea Grant passed away from breast cancer, aged 59, earlier this year. Her sons Josh and Patrick were named co-executors of her will and estate. They were shocked when Apple refused to unlock her iPad and asked for written consent from their mother before telling them to get a court order. Josh Grant, 26, accused the tech giant of having an 'utter lack of understanding and discretion in a time of great personal sadness'.  Apple said Mr Grant asked for password and not an 'Activation Lock' to be unlocked”.

This case highlights the new difficulty in dealing with digital assets on death.  It is my guess that for those of you that have wills, virtually none of them references your digital assets.  This is because until very recently solicitors were not even thinking about digital assets.

Issues arose on death in regards to logging into iPads but the same applies for online banking, Facebook and email accounts etc.

I can sympathise with Josh and Patrick Grant but I can also understand Apple’s stance as the right to privacy should extend to us on death.

I think most people would not wish for just any relative or friend to have access to their personal emails on their death.  It is therefore so important that we consider our digital assets when drafting our wills and ensure we deal with it so we can have some control over who has access to our passwords on our death.

If you have any questions in relation to this area please do not hesitate to contact Natasha McKeever or Katie de Swarte.