Interesting article on AlterNet
According to articles in Forbes and Foreign Policy magazine, estate planners are advising their clients to include emails and online passwords in their wills. Without these provisions, online service providers will not grant family or friends access to digital property, some of which could be valuable.
The Foreign Policy article states that, more and more, these cases are landing in court:
In 2005, a Michigan judge ordered Yahoo! to release the emails of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq to his family after they filed suit. Chris Sprigman, a University of Virginia law professor, says that’s just the beginning. “There will be a flood of these cases cropping up,” he says.
These cases can be sticky because unlike traditional assets, digital property does not have laws to point to, only agreements.
The article deals mainly with business issues like domain renewals, digital assests and the like.
How about personal things. Do you have someone set up to announce your departure and close your site or blog?
How about the “virtual contacts” you have, do they deserve to know what happened to you?
Do you have an online relationship or emails you wouldn’t want your family to see? Do you have someone set up to go through your computer and delete those things?
What about research and unfinished articles, what will happen to them?
Lots of interesting issues and questions, and most people can’t be bothered with a will.