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.