What Happens to Digital Assets after Death?

Many people make arrangements for their property and assets for when they die. This is usually done through wills and/or trusts. However, over the past several years, more and more people are trying to figure out what they should do with their digital assets.

An individual’s digital assets typically include email accounts, online music or photo libraries, and social media accounts on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Legal battles over a deceased person’s digital assets are becoming more and more common and harder to settle since most states’ estate laws do not give consideration to electronic or online media

Recently, Facebook rolled out a new program that allows users to appoint someone as their “legacy contact” in the event of their death. By selecting a legacy contact, the designated person will be able to change the account profile picture and accept new friend requests. However, the legacy contact is not granted full control over the account and cannot post to the account or view private messages. He or she will also have the option of downloading a file will contain all of the photos and posts associated with the deceased person’s account.. Users may also select an option requesting that their account be permanently deleted when they die

Legal professionals suggest maintaining a list of all currently owned digital assets, including usernames and passwords connected to the accounts. It is also recommended that you designate instructions regarding the disposition of the accounts – whether to transfer ownership to an heir or to simply delete them. This information should be shared with your attorney and included in your estate plans.

It can be extremely difficult for the executor of an estate to carry out the wishes of a deceased person if those wishes are not legally and expressly written out. If you are in the process of administrating an estate and have legal questions, contact an experienced Orland Park probate litigation attorney today.