Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nebraska Lawmakers Also Considering Law That Affects Digital Assets

WillsAs I have previously discussed, several states have introduced legislation that would make online information more accessible to family members following the deaths of the account owners. Now, Nebraska has joined the small number of states. The state legislature has introduce Legislative Bill 37. The bill "would allow a personal representative of a dead person to decide the fate of his or her social networking, email or blogging account by either controlling, terminating or continuing it." As of this moment, there are only a few states that have similar statutes. These include Connecticut, Rhode Island, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Idaho and only the previous two involve social networking sites.

Without the law or an estate plan, the policies of the different sites control. Facebook allows family members to memorialize an account, but the family members might provide proof of the account holder's death. However, both Facebook and Google will only release content if a court order is obtained. 

See Bethany Knipp, Law Would Address Dead People's Social Media Accounts, Norfolk Daily News, Jan. 21, 2013.

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


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In my state school opinion it would be helpful for this issue to be addressed in federal legislation, and conceptually I am thinking of HIPAA where you have a federal statute which recognizes an office (in that case, a health care advance directive) and here possibly an executor, court appointed or not.

Posted by: brian j. cohan | Jan 27, 2013 12:20:48 PM

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