Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

When People Post About Funerals On Social Media

Funeral-trust25-crop-600x338It is very common for people to post just about every detail of their life on social media services like Facebook or Twitter.  This column discusses some of the controversy surrounding the increasing number of people who post pictures and comments about funerals on their social media accounts and the mixed feelings that society has about this new trend.  Some people believe that funerals should be private affairs and would not like it if somebody took a picture of the casket and posted it on Facebook or Twitter.  There are other individuals who have no issue with sharing pictures and information about funerals with their social media networks.  As social media technology continues to develop these concerns about privacy will continue to become more prevalent. 

See Leanne Italie, For social media fans, funerals are now fair game: Share, comment, or take a selfie?, Arkansas Online, July 1, 2015.

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

July 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Long-Term Care In The Digital Age

Old WomenSenior citizens are the fastest growing age group in the United States and will place a tremendous burden on the long-term care sector as the Baby Boomers reach retirement age. The problems that will be encountered cannot fully be appreciated yet, but digital technology will be of great help as it offers the chance to keep the elderly in touch with the rest of society, even if bedridden. Digital visits with distant family members will allow the elderly to have a presence in the life of the younger generation and greatly help with the loneliness epidemic found in many senior living centers. In addition, digital communication will allow seniors to visit with medical professionals for consultations without having to wait for local physicians to visit. All and all, the future appears bright for the beneficial integration of electronics into senior care.

See Marc Agronin, How Technology Will Revolutionize Long-Term Care, Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2015.

July 1, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Article On Ownership Of Digital Property

Article PictureCraig Dickson (Auckland University of Technology), recently published an article entitled, The Digital Legacy Conundrum: Who Really Owns What?, June 4, 2015. Provided below is an abstract of the article:

Previously the distribution of assets following the death of loved one was straightforward. These days however, a lot of the “property” of a deceased and many relevant documents might be only contained on a hard drive, in an e-mail account or in some form of cloud storage. A number of problems can arise when executors attempt to source, access and/or retrieve these “digital assets” left behind by the deceased and many, if not most people do not have a clear or accurate understanding of the extent of their digital estate. Moreover, the many sites where digital assets are located have differing protocols regarding the access that will be granted to executors and Unauthorised access and privacy laws may put executors and trusts and estates lawyers at risk of violating one set of laws (often those of the United States, where many of the social networking and online storage accounts are based), merely for attempting to carry out the duties required of them under another set of laws.


June 25, 2015 in Articles, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Digital Tools Make Retirement Planning Easier

Retirement planningPeople who are planning for retirement often face difficulties when deciding how much money they will need.  With life expectancies increasing there is often a risk of outliving retirement savings.  A new retirement planning tool that is offered by Personal Capital, a financial technology company, is making it easier for people to plan ahead.  There has been a recent growth in financial technology companies offering people "robo-advisors," who use algorithms based on the clients data to offer more accurate retirement projections.  These new technologies will make it easier for clients to get the information needed to make fast decisions.

See Laura Shin, Test An Endless Number Of Retirement Projections With This New Tool, Forbes, June 22, 2015.

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

June 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What Happens To Social Media Accounts After Death?

FacebookThe State of Wyoming is looking at creating legislation that will provide a process for dealing with a person’s social media accounts after they die.  Not a lot of jurisdictions have legislation in place for dealing with a decedent’s social media services like their Facebook, Twitter, and email accounts.  Lawmakers in Wyoming would like to model the legislation after the Privacy Expectation Afterlife and Choices Act, which is a piece of legislation that technology firms are lobbying for across the United States.  The bill will create a process that will make it easier for decedents to give family members access to their accounts after they pass away.

See Trevor Brown, What happens to social media after you die?, The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, June 20, 2015.

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

June 21, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Web/Tech, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

California Legislature Considers Digital Asset Reform Bill

FacebookThe California legislature is thinking about passing a bill that would allow deceased individuals to ‘opt-in’ to giving executors and trustees access to digital assets.  The bill would let individuals opt-in by expressly stating it in a will or through an internet service provider.  The bill is part of a larger nationwide effort to give decedents more control over their digital assets.  The text of this proposed piece of legislation can be read here

See Kathryn Sylvia, California introduces ‘opt-in’ digital assets bill, Robinson + Cole, June 11, 2015.

June 17, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Trusts, Web/Tech, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2015

French Regulator Pressures Google To Apply ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Globally

GoogleA French date collection regulator is pressuring Google to expand globally a right to be forgotten.  Google currently grants de-listing requests to European users.  “In May last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that European residents can ask search engines to delete results that turn up under a search for their name when they are out of date, irrelevant or inflammatory - the so-called right to be forgotten.”  EU watchdogs are currently pushing Google to implement a global policy that would give users the right to be forgotten.  Google is currently working with regulators to try to find the best way to comply with these recent regulatory decisions. 

See Leila Abboud and Julia Fioretti, Update 2-French watchdog pressures Google on “right to be forgotten,” Reuters, June 12, 2015.

June 15, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Court Permits Woman To Use Frozen Embryos Despite Sperm Donors Objections

Frozen embryoAn appeals court in Chicago has held that a woman may use embryos that she created with her ex-boyfriend despite his objections.  Karla Dunston, whose fertility was destroyed by cancer treatment, created frozen embryos with the sperm of her former boyfriend, Jacob Szasfranski.  The Court held that there was an oral agreement between the two parties, and it held that Dr. Dunston’s interest in using the embryos outweighed Mr. Szasfranski’s interest in not having them used.  In these sorts of disputes past Courts have tended to side with the party that does not want the embryos used.  Mr. Szasfranski intends to appeal the Chicago Courts decision. 

See Tamar Lewin, Chicago Court Gives Woman Frozen Embryos Despite Ex-Boyfriends Objections, The New York Times, June 12, 2015. 

June 13, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Article On Using Trusts to Protect Mobile Money Customers

Cell PhoneJonathan Greenacre (University of New South Wales) & Ross P. Buckley (University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law) recently published an article entitled, Using Trusts to Protect Mobile Money Customers,(2014) Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, 59-78. Provided below is an abstract about the article:

Some 1.8 billion people today have a mobile phone and no bank account. Mobile money is the provision of financial service through mobile phones. It offers the substantial potential benefits of financial inclusion to poor people in poor nations. This article explores how trust law can be used to address the key risks these mobile money customers face: bankruptcy of the e-money provider, illiquidity and fraud. Prudential regulation is largely inapplicable because most providers are telecommunications companies not banks. Trusts law is a highly efficacious way to address this regulatory lacuna.

June 11, 2015 in Articles, Technology, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Review Of Directive Communications Systems

ComputerManaging an estate can be a complicated task with a myriad of accounts and relationships that must betaken into consideration. In steps the Directive Communications Systems which allows digital assets to be input into the system for easy management and control. The system also allows for the tracking of all the relationships between the client and key persons such as accountants and family members. This product sounds like an interesting new tool for an attorney worth a look for those looking for a digital management program

See Donald Kelley, Directive Communications Systems, Wealth Management, May 12, 2015.

Special thanks to Rich Martin for bringing this article to my attention.

June 1, 2015 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)