If there is one group of people that is most likely to need estate planning services and yet least likely to have a significant presence on the internet, it is seniors. It is perhaps because of this fact that the issue of digital estate planning has not received a lot of attention by either legislators or estate planning lawyers. However, it appears that lawmakers in Nebraska stand ready to reverse this trend and adopt the first kind of legislation that directly addresses digital estate planning issues.
Earlier this week, Nebraska legislators introduced a bill that would allow an estate executor, called the personal representative in Nebraska, to access a Facebook account of a deceased person. The law also includes other types of social media and micro-blogging services in its purview, but essentially grants a personal representative the ability to delete, modify, and otherwise control a social media profile or email account owned by the deceased person.
Though individuals can account for their digital estate assets as a part of their estate plan, there is currently no state that has a specific law that addresses this issue. The Nebraska legislation is the first of its kind, and will likely be succeeded by other laws in other states as the digital estate planning issue continues to gain prominence. For those who do not live in Nebraska, it is important to discuss any digital estate planning concerns you have with your estate planning lawyer.