New law allows access to social media accounts of the deceased - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New law allows access to social media accounts of the deceased

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - When someone dies, what happens to the social media accounts they leave behind? Do they die, too, or do they stay up serving as a virtual reminder of that person?

There's a new law in Delaware that promises to match the reality of how people live in the 21st century. The law now allows executors of an estate access to the digital assets of the person who passed away.

This includes email accounts, social media accounts, health records, and cloud storage.

Right now, there are companies like Google that offer users the option of assigning a beneficiary if an account remains inactive for a certain amount of time. The beneficiary is contacted by Google and given the ability to login to the Gmail account of the deceased so they can access important emails, shut down the account, or even set an automated response to friends.

Twitter also allows users to assign a beneficiary, but a death certificate must be presented before the account can be shut down. In any case, without an assigned beneficiary, heirs can be in for a long, and often unsuccessful, battle to gain account access.

If more state's follow Delaware's lead, family members will no longer have to deal with the corporate red tape following the death of a loved one.

Facebook will remove a deceased person's account if immediate family members can prove they are an immediate family member or executor of the deceased.

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