Beyond the Grave- What Happens to Your Digital Assets When You Die?


What would happen to your online persona if you died? After all, it is the digital age, and individuals are creating online personalities on a more regular basis. In addition, banking, and bill pay services are not digital. Many times, an individual does not even receive any paper record that an account exists as confirmation notices are sent to email accounts rather than physical addresses.

Digital assets are those which exist in a solely electronic and non-tangible manner such as email, online photos, and online accounts ranging from PayPal to Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube and the content posed on them. Most are protected by user names, passwords, and security questions which, for obvious reasons are not widely shared- not even with loved ones. When an unexpected death occurs, loved ones face a challenge obtaining access to those passwords and the content they access. Further, many people no longer receive paper bank statements, tax returns, or bills, so there is no paper trail for the family to follow to determine what accounts may exist and at which institutions.

Without knowledge of specific access credentials, family members may face substantial issues accessing the decedent’s online universe.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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