Death in the Digital Age: An Heirs and Users Guide to Digital Assets and Posthumous Rights
Palmer, Stephanie G.
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In the digital age, social media platforms and digital accounts contain a variety of digital assets that hold personal or monetary value. When a user dies, their heirs must take into account the number of legal issues they could face in order to gain access to a user’s digital assets. This research paper provides heirs and users resources and tools to assess digital assets, navigate potential legal issues, and implement methods for long-term preservation. Analyzing legal publications and case studies to evaluate the current legal environment and find answers to common questions about ownership and inheritance rights to digital assets hosted by third parties. What are the types of digital assets that exist on these social media and digital accounts? What are the legal issues involved with obtaining the rights to access a deceased user’s digital assets? What planning is necessary to ensure heirs continued access to these types of digital assets? How can the principles of digital preservation be applied to promote the long-term preservation of these digital assets?