Sunday, July 31, 2011
John Conner (2012 J.D. Candidate, Texas Tech University School of Law) recently published his article entitled Digital Life After Death: The Issue of Planning for a Person’s Digital Assets After Death, Texas Tech Law School Research Paper No. 2011-02 (2010). The abstract available on SSRN is below:
In “Digital Life After Death: The issue of planning for a person’s digital assets after death,” author John Connor discusses the concept of a digital asset and what happens to these assets when the owner dies. First, Connor lays the foundation to define what a digital asset is and why these assets can create problems in estate planning. Next, the author examines how various social networking sites, e-mail providers, and blog hosting sites are dealing with the concept of digital assets. Connor then provides possible solutions for dealing with digital assets. These solutions include: planning for digital assets prior to death, leaving instructions (including usernames and passwords) on how to access digital assets in the event of death, setting up a trust in which the usernames and passwords can be stored and accessed by the trustee and eventual executor, and possibly providing some information about digital assets in a will. Finally, the author describes the consequences of failure to provide for your digital assets after death.