Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Concerns About Privacy Arise In Digital Assets Debate In New Hampshire

FacebookAs I have previously discussed, the state legislature of New Hampshire has introduced legislation that would give control of a person's digital assets to the executor of the estate. While this piece of legislation could help many people, it met with a great deal of controversy. In fact, "[a] majority of the House Judiciary Committee recommend that the house kill the bill." Recently, the house narrowly voted to give the bill's sponsor an opportunity to amend the bill to establish a study that would analyze the benefits and consequences of the legislation. 

Some of the legislators believe that the state should have no part in determining who should control a user's account and that Facebook and other similar websites should be able to contract with its users. Other legislators contend that there are privacy issues involved with digital assets. For example, would you as a Facebook user want the executor or a personal administration to sift through your personal Facebook messages or emails. As it currently stands only five states have legislation that addresses concerns with digital assets after death.

See Norma Love, Who Controls Your Facebook Page After Death? N.H. Lawmakers Examine It, Seacoast Online, Jan. 31, 2013.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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I think it unfortunate that the bill was sent out of committee. It is one of the most primitive proposed statutes I have seen, and sadly ironic that it addressed an area which has so many tangents and concerns. Need federal legislation now to correct this 50 state train wreck.

Posted by: brian j. cohan | Feb 2, 2013 7:21:27 AM

Further amusement may be gained by a current internet search where it is learned that the proponent of this piece of flotsam has named this DOA bill "Sullivan's Law". So noted.

Posted by: bjc | Feb 8, 2013 9:27:32 AM

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