In what can truly be described as the law catching up with out technologically advanced lives, Delaware has become the first state to ensure families’ rights to access the digital assets of loved ones during incapacitation or after death. Last week, Gov. Jack Markell signed House Bill (HB) 345, “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act,” which gives heirs and executors the same authority to take legal control of a digital account or device, just as they would take control of a physical asset or document.
It’s important to note that what matters is where the person’s will is governed. Issues of residency or incorporation are not relevant. The most urgent example: In 2004, Yahoo famously denied access to a US marine’s e-mail account to his family after the marine was killed in action in Iraq.