Getting access to digital accounts when someone passes away has become less complex with the acceptance of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, according to Slate in "The Digital Afterlife Is a Mess."
The newly accepted process:
- If outside of its general terms of service, a website has a specific way to handle access to accounts of deceased users, then that process should be followed.
- If a website does not have that specific process, then a user can put in a will how the accounts should be handled and by whom.
- If nothing is mentioned about the accounts in a will, then any language to handle the death of users in the website's general terms of service agreement are used.
- If none of the above apply, then the Act can be used to gain access in some circumstances.
An estate planning would most likely be helpful is advising families on access to the digital accounts process because assistance is often needed, despite the improvements in the process.
Reference: Slate (Nov. 29, 2017) "The Digital Afterlife Is a Mess."