HM Insights

Can you access a loved one's photos or videos after they die?

After a three-year legal fight, widow and mother of one, Rachel Thompson, finally obtained a court order requiring Apple to allow her to access thousands of photos and videos on her deceased husband's mobile phone; many of which featured the deceased and his young daughter in images of cherished family memories.

Rachel was told by Apple that she would require a grant of Probate (Confirmation in Scotland) but that this would only close the account and that in order to obtain access she would need a court order.

Finally, in a ruling by Central London County Court, the required court order was granted; allowing her to access her late husband's phone contents and the family photos stored within.


Solicitor Matt Himsworth, making the successful case, said: "Now instead of looking through a photo album, our loved ones need a username and password to access this material. There should be a universal process in order for heirs of estates to access the data held in these accounts."

Death and your digital footprint

For a more extensive look at what happens to a person's digital presence when they pass, see our previous article on 'Death and your Digital Footprint - creating a personal assets log'.

Get in touch

For further information on this and other matters involved in winding up a loved one's estate in Scotland, please get in touch with a member of our team.