Thursday, July 24, 2014
As I have previously discussed, the Uniform Law Commission adopted the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which is a model code that aims to address the problem of digital assets disappearing into cyber space after the account holder dies. States will now be faced with the decision of whether to adopt the model provisions, including the idea of “media neutrality”, which allows the executor of the estate access to the digital assets.
However, for some, including those connected to high profile social media sites, this increased accessibility can be an invasion of privacy, both for the deceased account holder and third party individuals whose messages are saved to the account. Many private companies are now offering services that allow the account holder to set up what emails, pictures, and documents are to be saved or deleted after the account is deactivated or becomes inactive. If the model code is enacted in a state, then the person’s intention to make their account private after they die may be overridden and the account made public.
See Molly Roberts, A Plan to Untangle Our Digital Lives After We’re Gone, NPR, July 23, 2014.