What happens to your Facebook account when you die… does it die too? What about your PayPal account, iTunes library and all your other valuable digital assets? States around the country have begun to pass legislation that allow individuals to access social media accounts and other digital accounts on behalf of a deceased individual.
California Digital Assets Law
An individual may “use an online tool to direct the custodian to disclose to a designated recipient or not disclose some or all of the user’s digital assets.”
California is the latest state to pass a digital assets bill. If it makes it out of the Assembly and is signed by governor Jerry Brown, the California Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act will provide guidelines for how companies can share deceased individuals’ digital records such as emails and social media accounts following death. The law will grant the social media website or online company the right to grant full or partial access to a designated recipient.
The California digital assets law is a sign of our new electronic times. It is also a reminder that attorneys must now recognize their client’s digital assets and identify how their clients want the assets to be accessed or distributed after their death. To access a CLE course on digital assets please click here: Digital Asset Landscape: Preparation for Changes in Legislation.
 The company must first receive a written request, a certified copy of the death certificate and/or a certified copy of the letter of appointment of the representative, along with authenticating information about the deceased user.