What happens to your Gmail account when you die? What about your Facebook page or your Twitter account?
Well, it’s not clear. A few states have enacted legislation to give executors and personal representatives the power to access the digital accounts of the deceased, while most states rely merely on the privacy policies of the service providers, such as Google, or Twitter or whatever company hosts the account. Click on this link to see where your state falls with respect to this issue: https://www.everplans.com/tools-and-resources/state-by-state-digital-estate-planning-laws.
The current lack of legal clarity can cause huge disruption and frustration in peoples’ lives, as is evident in this story from the Columbus Dispatch: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2014/08/03/access-to-online-accounts-of-deceased-not-a-given.html.
What all this means is that when doing your estate planning, it is vitally important these days to make arrangements for your digital accounts, just as you do for your financial accounts.