After one dies, they leave behind a plethora of things for families to deal with. The funeral, services, diving up assets and deciding how to manage the deceased’s digital life. In Alissa Skelton’s article Facebook after Death: What Should the Law Say?, she explains the issues, new laws and complications associated with managing ones online life after death.
As of now, only 5 states have laws regarding digital asset management after death. Lawmakers have clearly been slow in enacting legislation and there is a proposal for uniform laws explaining procedures for digital data and giving easier access to online data.
There are several online options one can turn to now such as Legacy Locker which will manage all of your data and either release it after death or delete it. However there is no guarantee those websites will still be around when one passes. A much more sound option is including a digital data clause into one’s will. This ensures explaining exactly what to do with information and one can provide all usernames and passwords. This could also help guarantee that one’s information is properly handled. Depending on what one chooses to do online there could be a few indiscretions, pictures or e-mails that one would rather their family didn’t have to deal with.
Uniform laws need to be established soon seeing how rapidly people’s lives are shifting online. Over 500 million people have a Facebook account and millions use the web for banking, blogging and much more. With so much personal information online by each individual, this is what one is truly leaving behind. While families should have the ultimate decision to delete or memorialize digital information, it is astounding that there isn’t a uniform law yet. However, with the speed of technology, these laws would need to come soon and then be revised often. Either way a comprehensive law should be established as even just guidelines for companies and families in dealing with digital life after death.