It appears to be the unsettled Wild West when it comes to the fate of your Digital Soul when you die because there is practically no binding legal precedent established when it comes to how your digital data will be handled.

The most recent Federal law concerning Digital media after you die is from 1986. The 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act prevents sharing stored communications unless a court order is produced.

Additionally, only five states have Estate laws that include Digital assets. These include Idaho, Indiana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Connecticut and within these specific laws vary. Within them, only Oklahoma and Idaho clearly include Social Networking and Blogging as part of an Estate. Of the handful of states that include Digital assets in their Estate planning laws, most are still in the process of applying and testing these laws.

Internet companies such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook have taken the clear position that the user more than likely intended for the data on his or her account to remain private. These companies have crafted user agreements, privacy policies and Terms of Use that reflect this view.

The growing confusion over Digital assets has prompted the Federal government to post a blog that encourages people to create a Social Media Will. Find the full blog on, http://blog.usa.gov/post/22261234875/how-and-why-you-should-write-a-social-media-will.

Though there is no clear legal precedent on how your Digital data will be handled after you die, it’s clear that this legal territory is on the cusp of a revolution.

This is just a basic overview of the importance of using an astute Lawyer. The concepts here on this page are not legal advice specific to your situation. If you would like to speak with Jonathan C. Watts about your unique circumstances, please call him at 925-217-3255 or email him at jcw@eastbaybusinesslawyer.com.