Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Three Ideas to Deal With A Person's Assets

WillsAs I have previously discussed, Bruce Willis has brought suit against Apple because the terms and agreements under this iTunes Account will not let him bequest his music to his children. I have also previously discussed that the reason for this is that these purchasers do not technically own their digital assets. People who purchase digital assets only receive a license to use the assets from the seller. Thus, a person does not have the right to transfer or bequest the digital property at the person's death.

So, what's a person to do? Well, a person generally has only three options. First, as I have previously discussed, a person could a DAP trust. This is trust that acts like a normal trust but tries to "circumvent the iTunes rules."  However, there is no guarantee that the trust would work because a trust cannot be used to change policy or circumvent a contract. Second, a person might want to store his or her music on a CD or hard drive and then bequest the device. The third option is the easiest to implement and is probably the most obvious answer. A person might want to provide his or her password to the beneficiary. While a person may not own a property interest in the digital assets, that person does own a property interest in the password, which means that a person can give that person his or her password. By maintaining the deceased person's account, the beneficiary can continue to enjoy that person's music.

See Jeff John Roberts, 3 Ways to Deal With Digital Media When You Die, Gigaom, Sept. 5, 2012.


Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Trusts, Wills | Permalink

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