Digital Afterlife - A Looming issue of dealing with death and online identity


People use the Internet for countless reasons, ranging from posting thoughts and pictures onto blogs, to keeping up with friends and family, and even maintaining bank accounts and credit card balances. As we go through our lives we create vast amounts of data, which is in form of digital assets which may include include financial accounts, documents, e-mail, social media websites, music and photographs, to name a few. These digital assets may include some very personal and private items such as medical and financial information, personal notes to loved ones, personal diaries or writings about loved ones, photographs or drawings of loved ones, business plans, trade secrets and other items not meant, nor appropriate, for public disclosure. All the aforesaid information or data amounts to digital assets, which raise a very interesting question: what will happen to those digital assets when a person dies?

There are many organizations, Legacy Locker,, to name few, which now offer services for preserving the digital assets and passing it over to the legitimate owner in case of the death of the owner of the digital assets. Many email sites and social networking societies have their own policies & rules to pass on the digital assets of the deceased to their heirs or other legitimate claimants. The legislatures in USA have realized the importance of giving family members, friends & relatives, the control to the on-line accounts or digital assets of the deceased and few states in USA have passed the relevant legislations.

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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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