The internet has been around for a while at this point and it has brought to mind an issue we've never had to deal with until now.
What happens to your digital "stuff" when you die? Does it just go away? Does it simply become inaccessible?
In the here and now the answer has been yes. That's exactly what happens.
Unless your family and loved ones have access to your accounts and know your passwords there's simply no way they can access your data after you have died. That matters because there are very few people who make use of the traditional family photo album. Most of us keep our family photos online and usually on the cloud.
Apple understand that and they're making some small but important changes on that front. In the near future Apple will allow you to pass on your iCloud data to your chosen people when you die. The most recent iOS update contains the first step along that path containing a new "right of survivorship" element.
The new Digital Legacy program was announced earlier this year (2021). With the new program users will be able to designate up to five people as Legacy Contacts. In the event of your death the people you have listed as Legacy Contacts will be able to access any data and personal information you have stored in the iCloud.
To activate Digital Legacy provisions users on the Legacy Contact List will need to provide proof of death and an access key to access your information. Those changes will be available as of iOS 15.2. There has been no word from Apple about when a comparable feature will be available for macOS. With the direction the company is moving in you can bet we'll be hearing about it soon.
Kudos to Apple for making the change. This brings them into alignment with moves that Facebook and Google have already made.