The creation of a will is an effective way to ensure that our loved ones are provided for in the future after we are no longer around. For many people, this consideration acts as a catalyst, encouraging them to get their affairs in order and think about how they would like their property to be distributed after they are gone....
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The US state of Delaware has passed a Law which allows digital assets to be inherited in the same way as physical assets.
This will give the loved ones of a deceased person access to their Twitter, Facebook and email accounts as if they had inherited them as physical assets like a house or car.
The “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act” gives beneficiaries and the executor of the will the same powers over digital accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and email accounts or digital devices as they would have over physical assets like a house, car or cash.
The law applies to social network accounts and email but also to online banking, Paypal, blogs and domain name management accounts. The new law interestingly also extends to any "digital device”, which includes desktops, laptops, tablets, peripherals, servers, mobile telephones and "any similar storage device which currently exists or may exist as technology develops".
Usually, provision can be made in a will to give access to certain digital accounts. The person making the will can plan and direct which accounts re to be included. However, under the law in Delaware, all private information will be opened up to loved ones. This may reveal secrets the deceased would not have wished to disclose.
The new law also seems to conflict with the terms and conditions of online services.
While with physical property the person who has purchased it has full access to it and can do with it what they please, with digital property there is usually a provision in the terms and conditions that states that password for accounts cannot be passed on to other individuals.
Facebook forbids users from transferring a Facebook account to another individual and the social media giant along with Google and Twitter are yet to respond as to whether they will be complying with requests made under the newly passed law.
What is a deed of variation?
A deed of variation, sometimes known as an instrument of variation, allows the beneficiary of an estate to transfer an inheritance given to them, to another person or to a trust....
The law in England & Wales relating to deathbed gifts and charitable bequeaths was recently considered in the High Court. Here we examine the judgment and the potential impact, if any, on the law in Scotland....
There is one very important asset in clients estates that is often overlooked - the family pet. Many people simply forget to make provision for their pets after they die, or assume that they will out live them. This post discusses legal solutions to many of the problems faced in providing adequate care for pets after death....
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