Digital Legacy Scorecard

What is the Digital Legacy Scorecard?

STEP’s Digital Legacy Scorecard is a system for rating cloud service providers on their legacy provisions – that is, the extent to which they have planned what happens to their users’ accounts in the event of their death or incapacity.

The Scorecard assesses the level of difficulty of getting timely access to a user’s account in the event of their death or incapacity, based on the service provider’s Terms of Service Agreement.

Why is this needed?

A key finding in STEP’s 2021 research report, Digital Assets, A Call to Action, was that estate practitioners and their clients were increasingly struggling to access and close digital accounts on the death of a family member.

This is leading to distress and frustration. Cybercrime and identity theft is at an all-time high. In addition to the sentimental and financial value of these accounts, closing accounts that may contain sensitive information is an important step in the estate administration process.

A major part of the challenge is that cloud service providers all have different terms of service. Some address what happens on death or incapacity, to varying extents, and some have no provision at all.

STEP is working to increase awareness of this issue with service providers and the public. The Digital Legacy Scorecard seeks to define and encourage best practice in this area.

How does the Digital Legacy Scorecard work?

The Scorecard rates service providers in two stages. The first is a series of basic requirements that include:

  • Having clear and publicly displayed criteria for determining what events trigger an account to be deemed inactive.
  • The provisions for account holders to pre-determine options that allow access for a fiduciary or designated recipient in the event of death or incapacity.
  • The amount of attention and publicity present in the platform to promote among the users the awareness of this type of planning feature.

Service providers that include either a planning tool or a simplified process for access by fiduciaries then qualify for getting into the second stage – the merit section of the Scorecard. There are three merit levels:

  • Bronze level: Sufficient communication and explanation of legacy options of a user’s account.
  • Silver level: Additional support is offered by a service provider in accessing a user’s account, such as consultations or access channels for fiduciaries/advisors.
  • Gold level: A fully integrated platform that covers all aspects of estate planning and the administration and distribution of a user’s account at both incapacity and death.

To advance to the next merit category, a service provider must meet all of the requirements in the prior merit category in order to progress to the next.

The Scorecard is a living tool and our aim is for the categories analysed and the rating system to evolve as this area develops.

Service provider scores

The following ratings were carried out in August 2023 by STEP’s expert panel. We welcome news of improvement and are happy to reassess service providers when relevant functionality or service has been added. You can download a PDF of all the results here.


Amazon Webstore is a software as a service e-commerce platform that enables individuals access to services and products and companies of all sizes to build and operate an eCommerce business. For the purpose of the Scorecard, we will be reviewing the personal account on Amazon used to access Amazon products and services.

Amazon Scorecard
Amazon Scorecard

View Amazon Scorecard (PDF)


Apple Inc designs, manufactures and markets technological devices and also offers software applications and related services, accessories and third-party digital content. For the purpose of the Scorecard, we will be reviewing the personal account on Apple used to access Apple services and content across all devices and the web.

Apple Scorecard
Apple Scorecard

View Apple Scorecard (PDF)


Coinbase Global Inc is a technology company that operates cryptocurrency exchange platforms enabling merchants and consumers to transact crypto coins.

Coinbase Scorecard
Coinbase Scorecard

View Coinbase Scorecard (PDF)


Dropbox Inc is a technology company that offers solutions to securely store, synchronise and share business files. For the purpose of the Scorecard, we will be reviewing Dropbox personal account that allows access and sharing of photos, documents and files from any device.

Dropbox Scorecard
Dropbox Scorecard

View Dropbox Scorecard (PDF)


Facebook is a social networking service that connects people across geographies and helps them discover new products and services from local and global businesses. For the purpose of the Scorecard, we will be reviewing an individual’s personal Facebook account used to access services and content-sharing.

Facebook Scorecard
Facebook Scorecard

View Facebook Scorecard (PDF)


Google LLC is a multinational technology company focusing on artificial intelligence, online advertising, search engine technology, cloud computing, computer software, quantum computing, eCommerce, and consumer electronics. For the purpose of the Scorecard, we will be reviewing an individual’s personal Google account used to access mails, content, documents, etc.

Google Scorecard
Google Scorecard

View Google Scorecard (PDF)


Instagram is a social media service that allows users and share photo and videos on mobile devices. For the purpose of the Scorecard, we will be reviewing an individual’s personal Instagram account used to access and share photos, videos and other content.

Instagram Scorecard
Instagram Scorecard

View Instagram Scorecard (PDF)


LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community with the goal to enable registered members to establish industry and business networks. For the purpose of the Scorecard, we will be reviewing an individual’s personal LinkedIn account used to access, share and build their personal business networks.

LinkedIn Scorecard
LinkedIn Scorecard

View LinkedIn Scorecard (PDF)

X (Twitter)

X Corp (X), formerly Twitter Inc., is a social networking platform for people to create and share ideas real-time through self-expression and conversation. For the purpose of the Scorecard, we will be reviewing an individual’s personal account used to express and share opinions via the platform.

X/Twitter Scorecard
X/Twitter Scorecard

View X / Twitter Scorecard (PDF)


Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global Internet communications, commerce and media company that offers a comprehensive branded network of services. For the purpose of the Scorecard, we will be reviewing an individual’s personal Yahoo! account used to access emails, content, documents, etc.

Yahoo Scorecard
Yahoo Scorecard

View Yahoo Scorecard (PDF)

Please note: The Scorecard evaluation concerns only the ‘Digital Legacy Management’ aspect of the service and does not contemplate other qualities or characteristics of the product/service. The Scorecard focuses only on individual accounts and does not address enterprise accounts offered by service providers. In addition, the platforms of each service provider reviewed are all different, as such some of the criteria for rating may not be universally applicable.

© The underlying concept and strategic framework for the Scorecard was created by the late Sharon Hartung PEng TEP, and has been adapted for and by STEP with permission for use under a license granted to STEP.

What do the results tell us?

There are some encouraging examples of good practice, with Facebook and Google scoring highest. The results demonstrate that all providers need to do more to improve their legacy functionality. Of the service providers rated, none currently meet all of our basic requirements.

In general, there is a lack of comprehensive approach. Service providers are largely leaving out  incapacity from express provisions and handling the distribution of digital assets. With an ageing population and increasing incidences of dementia, for example, this is an area that needs attention.

What do we want to see?

We want all providers to not only meet the basic requirements, but to go beyond these to provide a fully comprehensive programme that covers all aspects of estate planning and administration. We are calling on all of these service providers to work with us to better support their customers to plan their digital estates.

Digital Assets

Research report: Digital assets - A call to action

In partnership with the Microsoft-funded Cloud Legal Project at Queen Mary University of London, STEP found that digital assets are becoming a normal part of modern estate planning but close to half of respondents are not prepared to assist clients with digital assets.

Digital Assets Hub

Digital Assets Hub

Visit our Digital Assets Hub, where we have pulled together news, features and resources to keep you up to date with the latest digital assets developments.

Digital Memories

Support our campaign

STEP is working to build awareness of some of the actions clients can take now to plan for what will happen to their sentimental digital assets when they are no longer here through its 'Protect your digital memories for future generations' campaign.