Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

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European residents can ask search engines to delete results that turn up under a search for their name when they are out of date, irrelevant or inflammatory - the so-called right to be forgotten.”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)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

HRSA Publishes Final Rule Implementing HOPE Act



T_HRSA01The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has recently published a final rule concerning the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act (HOPE Act).  The act will modify the standards used by the Organ Procurement Transplantation Network (OPTN), and will permit organs from an individual with HIV to be transplanted into another person who is also infected with the virus as long as they participate in clinical research conducted by a review board.  The HOPE Act will give the Secretary of the HRSA discretion to decide on the criteria of the research.

See Debra A. Mccurdy, Final Rule Implements HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, Health Industry Washington Watch, May 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.

May 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Parents Should Register Surrogate Children Who Were Born Abroad To Avoid Legal Problems

SurrogateA British high court judge has warned that the growing number of children born overseas through surrogacy could create “a ticking legal time bomb.”  Judge Dame Lucy Theis warns that if parents do not fill out a court sanctioned parental order application their children could end up “stateless and parentless.”  Without a parental order the child’s surrogate mother could possibly be recognized as the child’s actual parent creating a number of complex legal problems involving British citizenship.  The Judge would like parents to become more aware of the need to register a parental order as this method of reproduction continues to expand. 

See Owen Bowcott, Unregistered Surrogate-Born Children Creating ‘Legal Timebomb,’ Judge Warns, Guardian, May 18, 2015.   

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

May 20, 2015 in Current Affairs, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

California Assembly Passes Bill to Protect Digital Assets

Digital assetsIn today’s age of widespread social media and communication, California lawmakers are trying to address what happens to one’s digital life when they die. 

Yesterday, the state assembly approved a bill that would give guidelines for judges to follow before they could order electronic providers to turn over electronic information to the executor or administrator of an estate.  The bill, AB691, attempts to strike a balance between privacy and allowing estate administrators access digital accounts to resolve estate issues.  The bill will now go to the Senate for approval.

See Associated Press, Social Media Protected After Death Under California Bill, News 3, May 11, 2015.

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

May 12, 2015 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Executors Emerge Into the Digital World

Computer 2Today, a Manhattan startup, known as Blockchain Apparatus, introduced their latest innovations from the Bitcoin system, which will change how many people manage bequeathing their estates. 

Blockchain Apparatus functions as a legal services enterprise, and in the areas of property and trusts, and their technology could enable the creation of “smart contracts.”  For example, a “blockchain will” would release an inheritance to someone’s heirs as provable data points on the web.  This is the first time in history that a software code is named as an executor.  According to Blockchain Technologies Corp’s legal counsel, Eric Dixon, the blockchain will or broader blockchain document “goes to the heart of most family and surrogates' court litigation. It provides better evidence of the actual intent, at a definable, fixed time, of the person making the will or the ‘testator’ in legal parlance.”  Dixon also said that the blockchain would make it much easier for a genuine will to be upheld and for courts to make findings of fact much more quickly. 

See Gary Howard, Code Named As Executor, A First In Legal History, PR Web, May 11, 2015.

May 12, 2015 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)