Navigating Inheritance Laws in the Virtual Space

Discover the implications of digital inheritance as our lives intertwine with the virtual sphere. Unveil six pivotal laws guiding the transfer of your online assets posthumously. By grasping these principles, you pave the path to preserving your digital footprint and securing a lasting legacy online.

Navigating Inheritance Laws in the Virtual Space

Have you ever wondered what would happen to your online accounts or digital assets when you pass away? With more of our lives happening virtually, new inheritance laws are emerging around digital legacies.

This article explores six fundamental laws you should know to make sure your virtual possessions and accounts are passed on as intended. Understanding these guidelines and learning how to navigate them allows you to better plan for your digital legacy and ensure your online presence lives on.

Understanding Digital Legacy and Inheritance

In today's digital age, we have online accounts for everything- social media, banking, utilities and more. Without proper planning, your online accounts and digital assets could be locked away forever or even deleted when you're gone.

You should create a digital will to handle your digital legacy as intended. A digital will, also known as a social media or online will, provides instructions for managing your online accounts and digital assets after you die.

With a comprehensive digital will, you can rest assured that your online accounts and digital assets will be appropriately handled according to your instructions. Don't leave the fate of your digital legacy to chance.

Fundamental Inheritance Laws Impacting Your Digital Assets

When it comes to your online accounts and virtual property, the laws around inheritance get complicated. Many assume a will or trust is enough to transfer their digital legacy, but it's not simple. Here are a few laws you need to know regarding your digital assets.

Fundamental Inheritance Laws Impacting Your Digital Assets

When it comes to your online accounts and virtual property, the laws around inheritance get complicated. Many assume a will or trust is enough to transfer their digital legacy, but it's not simple. Here are a few laws you need to know regarding your digital assets.

  1. Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA)

    The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) is a landmark law that extends the traditional power of a fiduciary to manage a person's physical assets to include their digital assets.

    This includes email accounts, social media profiles, digital music libraries, and online banking accounts. The fiduciary, who could be an executor, trustee, or agent under power of attorney, has the right to access, control, or even delete the digital assets of the deceased or incapacitated person.

    However, it's important to note that this law is subject to the terms and conditions of the service provider, which can sometimes limit the fiduciary's power.

  2. Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA)

    The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) was designed better to protect the privacy of a user's digital communications. This act maintains that the user's online tool settings and privacy preferences will take precedence over a will, power of attorney, or other legal documents unless the user explicitly states that the fiduciary can override these settings.

    This means that even if a person has passed away, their communications will remain private unless specified otherwise.

  3. Privacy Laws

    Privacy laws like the U.S. Stored Communications Act also play a crucial role in digital inheritance. This act prohibits service providers from disclosing the content of a person's electronic communications, even after their death, unless the user has provided consent or another law allows it.

    This means that private conversations via email or social media can remain confidential even after a person's death.

  4. Estate Tax Laws

    Estate tax laws are another essential aspect of digital inheritance. Digital assets, be it a blog, a domain name, or a cryptocurrency portfolio, can significantly increase the value of a person's estate and, thus, the estate tax liability. Planning can help to mitigate the taxes levied on these digital assets after a person's death.

Best Practices for Managing Digital Inheritance Laws

Managing digital inheritance laws can be complex and overwhelming, given the rapidly changing digital landscape and the varying laws across different jurisdictions. Here are some best practices to consider:

Create a Comprehensive Digital Inventory

The digital landscape is vast and can include everything from social media and email accounts to online banking, digital media libraries, eBooks, cryptocurrencies, and more. Creating a comprehensive digital inventory is crucial in managing digital inheritance laws.

This inventory should detail all digital assets, including necessary usernames, passwords, and security questions and answers. This process can be time-consuming, but ensuring a smooth transition of your digital assets after your passing is crucial. It's also a good practice to keep this inventory updated and secure.

Understand the Terms of Service

Every digital platform has terms of service, which spell out the policies on what happens to a user's account upon death. Some platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow users to designate a 'legacy contact' who can manage their account posthumously.

For instance, Google offers an 'Inactive Account Manager' feature, allowing users to decide what happens to their data after a certain period of inactivity. It's essential to familiarize yourself with these policies and make appropriate arrangements. This step is crucial in ensuring your digital assets are handled as per your wishes.

Leverage Digital Legacy Services:

Digital legacy services can help manage your digital assets after your demise. They securely store your digital assets and credentials, transferring them to your designated recipients upon death.

These services can be beneficial for handling more complex digital assets, like cryptocurrencies. They also help ensure your digital legacy is smoothly transitioned without the risk of data loss or unauthorized access.

Include Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

Digital assets hold both sentimental and financial value and should be included in your estate plan. Be clear in your will about who should access what digital assets. If you own digital properties like domain names or copyrighted digital content, these should be included in your will, along with their estimated value. This step can prevent potential disputes and ensure your digital assets are distributed per your wishes.

Assign a Digital Executor

Designating a trusted person as your digital executor is vital. This person should ideally be tech-savvy and able to handle the technical aspects of managing digital assets. They will be responsible for executing your wishes regarding your digital legacy, so choose someone reliable who respects your wishes.

Provide Clear Instructions

Clear instructions are crucial for your digital executor. Specify what should be done with each digital asset - whether to delete, memorialize, or transfer to specific individuals. This step helps avoid any confusion or misinterpretation of your wishes after passing.

Regularly Update Your Digital Estate Plan

The digital world is constantly evolving, so reviewing and updating your digital estate plan regularly is essential. New accounts may need to be added, or platform policies may change. Ensuring your plan stays current can prevent potential issues down the line.

Educate Your Heirs

Providing your heirs with a comprehensive understanding of your digital landscape is crucial. This may involve explaining the importance of each digital account you possess, why you've chosen certain individuals to inherit specific digital assets, and the value these assets hold, whether it's sentimental, financial, or both. Understanding the significance of digital assets can help your heirs appreciate the responsibilities entrusted to them.

Consider educating your heirs about the legalities surrounding digital inheritance. For instance, unauthorized access to someone's digital accounts can be considered illegal in some jurisdictions. They must understand the nuances of these laws to avoid potential legal mishaps.

Your heirs should also be made aware of the terms of service of different digital platforms. Each platform has its own policy regarding account access after a user's death. Understanding these policies can aid your heirs in effectively managing these accounts without violating the platform's terms.

It's essential to educate your heirs about possible challenges they might face, such as recovering data from encrypted devices or accessing accounts with two-factor authentication. Providing the necessary tools or guiding them toward professional help can equip them to navigate such challenges.

Secure Your Legacy with

Navigating the complex landscape of digital inheritance laws can be an arduous task. But you don't have to do it alone. With the digital legacy services provides, you can ensure that your digital assets are handled precisely as you intend, even in your absence. simplifies the intricacies of digital inheritance laws, providing a seamless platform to secure your digital legacy. It's more than just a tool; it's your partner in this journey, ensuring your digital life can be passed on safely and legally to your heirs.

Don't let the complexity of digital inheritance laws deter your loved ones. Create a free account today and take control of your digital future. It's time to make your digital legacy a part of your life story.

Our service

At, we provide a complete digital estate planning service that helps you organize and manage your digital assets, so they can be accessed and transferred by your loved ones after you pass away or become incapacitated. Our service includes creating a digital inventory, determining who will have access, providing instructions on how to manage your assets, and securely storing your digital estate plan.

Subscribe to our service today, and gain peace of mind that your legacy will be protected.