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Friday, February 22, 2013
by Michael Loatman
Should the executor or administrator
of an estate have access to the digital accounts of the deceased?
Or should those accounts, which often include social media, be off
At least five states in recent years
have enacted laws allowing an executor or administrator to obtain
access to a decedent's digital accounts. The laws differ in the
type of online accounts addressed, with some laws only covering
email accounts while others authorize control of a decedent's blog,
Facebook, or Twitter account.
At least ten states-including
Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, and Oregon-are addressing the
issue in the current legislative session.
A Virginia bill headed to the
governor's desk would allow access to the accounts of deceased
minors. Virginia's bill notably limits its coverage to deceased
minors, but that appears so far to be the exception, rather than
the norm among bills addressing the issue.
A committee convened by the National
Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State laws has been
discussing whether to draft a proposed uniform law on the issue to
send to the states. Alternatively, the committee may decide instead
to propose amendments to the Uniform Probate Code, Uniform Trust
Code, Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act, and the
Uniform Power of Attorney Act. The committee met Feb. 15-16 in
Washington to discuss its current proposed draft.
Copyright 2013, The Bureau of
National Affairs, Inc.
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