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What happens to digital assets upon a person's death?

Many people in the Kent area use digital media in many different ways. They purchase music and movies. They have accounts with Facebook, Amazon, ITunes and others. So, when a person passes away what happens to these assets and can they be included in a will?

There aren't many laws currently regarding what happens to digital assets once a person dies. For many it varies by each account. Amazon will allow a family member to cancel the account but others such as Twitter and Google want the family member to contact them first. Online bank accounts require family members to present death certificates in order to have the account closed.

A person can name a successor in their will who has the authority to take over a person's website upon their death. Sites like Facebook are now starting to allow a person to name a contact who can take over for them when they die. If a website doesn't give that option a person can name a successor in their will and present that information to the online company. Online sites are still evolving when it comes to what happens after a person's death so it is best to check their terms and conditions frequently.

Writing down websites and passwords associated with them is important in helping family members know all the details in case of death. It is also important to share where this document is located in case something happens.

For additional information regarding a person's digital presence after they die it can be helpful to talk with a legal professional skilled in estate planning. While this blog post can only give general information, an attorney can discuss all estate planning options including wills and the distribution of property.

Source:, "Digital estate planning, how to manage your assets before you die," Keely Arthur, May 3, 2015

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