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Bill introduced to manage digital assets after death or incapacity

Jeroen Bennink
Flickr Creative Commons

Have you ever wondered what happens to your digital data if you die or are incapacitated?  

Legislation has been introduced in Lansing to set rules for how executors of wills and guardians can access digital assets. It also provides for what happens if a person did not sign a will or power of attorney.

Digital assets include photos, financial records, and emails that are held in electronic accounts. 

"Who owns all the pictures you put out there in the cloud? If you were to die, who has access to them? Your emails, we're having bills now sent to email accounts," said State Representative Anthony Forlini, R- Macomb, who sponsored the bill.

"We want to provide clarity as to digital assets: who owns them, who has access to them, what are the privacy concerns that we can take care of," said Forlini.

Forlini said clarity is important because we conduct so many aspects of our lives online.

Current law is unclear about when online service providers must give access to executors of wills and guardians of people who cannot manage their affairs, and to what digital materials.