Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Inheriting Digital Assets

Digital-assets-graph

As I have previously discussed, many people possess “digital assets” that may be of great value to them.  However, the value of web domains, photos, videos, email, and social-media accounts may be lost if the owner does not take proper legal steps ahead of time.

A will can be used to designate someone who will have access after an account-holder dies, but some sites like iTunes do not allow anyone to inherit an account.  One way around these limits would be to place the license and necessary passwords in a trust.  Licenses may cease to exist upon the death of the account-holder but access to accounts can be preserved if the license is placed in a trust.

The Uniform Law Commission has met to discuss a proposal to draft a law giving fiduciaries the right to manage and distribute clients’ digital assets, which would make it easier for consumers to bequeath online property.  Only Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island currently give fiduciaries this right.

See Arden Dale, Make Sure You Know Who Will Inherit Your Twitter Account, The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 18, 2013.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2013/09/inheriting-digital-assets.html

Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Web/Tech, Wills | Permalink

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