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February 18, 2015 | Weekly Commentary

What would have happened, if you would have passed away yesterday, to the “digital assets” you own? Digital assets do not have a uniformly accepted definition, but generally include digitally stored content, online accounts, travel miles, credits on eBay or Paypal or Amazon, online storage accounts like Drop Box, or iCloud, or music held in iTunes or Pandora. As our lives become ever more digital, this question will continue to grow in its importance. Individual states have been slow to pass legislation dealing with the ownership issue. Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have considered legislation but have yet to pass it into law.

Some social networks have acted – Facebook for one. The social network rolled out an update Thursday that lets you assign a Facebook friend as a “legacy contact” to your account, essentially granting special access to the account in the case of your death. You can also choose to have your account deleted entirely. This legacy contact will not be able to post on your behalf or see your private messages. They will, however, be able to download your Facebook archive, which includes all of your photos, and post a note that will remain pinned to the top of your profile page.

If you want your profile deleted, Facebook will honor that request and remove your photos, Timeline, and past likes and comments (although some stuff like “log records” will remain). Facebook already memorialized profiles at the request of the deceased user’s family, and has done so for a number of years, said Vanessa Callison-Burch, a product manager at the company. That, of course, didn’t give users much control over what was done with their accounts, and the new update provides that option. If you choose someone as your legacy contact, he or she will not be alerted to your decision until you’ve passed away, added Callison-Burch. The update is available only for U.S. users, but will expand internationally “soon,” she said.

Source: (In Part from: The Wall Street Journal and http://www.digitaldeath.com )

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