Terms of service agreements and privacy policies govern access to social media and email accounts, and most expire when a user dies and are not transferable. Surviving family members are unable to access social media accounts or valuable digital assets, since most state laws that govern the actions of personal representatives or executors were enacted before email and social media became widespread and do not account for digital property.
However, at least 46 states since 2013 have enacted laws addressing access to email, social media accounts, microblogging or other website accounts, or other electronically stored assets, upon a person’s incapacity or death. Nevada law provides for the termination of decedents' social media accounts.
The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) in 2014 approved the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) and in July 2015, the ULC issued a revised version of UFADAA--the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Revised (2015). Forty-one states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have adopted the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Revised.
2019 Summary: Bills related to digital assets/electronic assets of decedents have been introduced in at least nine states and D.C. in 2019.
2018 Summary: Bills related to digital assets/electronic assets of decedents were introduced in at least 15 states and D.C. Legislation was enacted in at least four states in 2018: Georgia, Maine, Missouri, and West Virginia; and the Virgin Islands.
2017 Summary: Bills related to digital assets/electronic assets were introduced in at least 30 states. Legislation was enacted in at least 17 states in 2017: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.
2016 Summary: Bills were introduced in 30 states. Legislation was enacted in at least 10 states: Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
2015 Summary: Bills were introduced in at least 32 states. Legislation was enacted in Virginia.
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