What Should Happen to Your Online Accounts When You Die?
Recently the Uniform Law Commission endorsed a proposed plan for “digital assets.” As it stands right now most states have little or no law on the books that specifically addresses what happens to your online accounts when you pass away. And these days for many people that is pretty significant. Think of all the stuff you keep in the “cloud.” It may be pictures, music, videos, letters, e-mail messages, or the like. And then there is all that social media information such as on Facebook or Instagram.
The proposed legislation would give loved ones access to a deceased person’s digital accounts unless the deceased person’s will says otherwise. To become law, the proposed law would have to be adopted by each state’s legislature. Most importantly the law would trump “terms of service” agreements by tech companies that prohibit people from accessing an account that isn’t theirs. Otherwise, even if you have the password, you may be violating federal law just by accessing the online accounts of your loved one.