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Life Health > Running Your Business

Deathless Data (The Economist)

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It’s easy to overlook, but your death will impact any virtual lives that exist in the digital realm. Testamentary law offers vague and incomplete ways of bequeathing and inheriting them. Digital assets may include software, websites, downloaded content, online gaming identities, social-media accounts, and emails. Families of dead soldiers have taken service providers to court to gain access to emails or accounts. Five American states have enacted laws giving executors control over the social-media profiles of deceased users. This does present a problem with privacy. Experts say access to accounts should come only with an explicit provision in a will. This can simplify the process, but may clash with service providers’ terms of service.