OK Law Addresses Virtual Estates

December 7, 2010 -

If you are planning your last will and testament in the state of Oklahoma, you now have to worry about what to do with your virtual belongings. According to a report in the IB Times (thanks EZK), a new state law in Oklahoma gives estate executors and administrators the power to "access, administer, or terminate" social media and online accounts.

According to former state Rep. Ryan Kiesel (D-Seminole), a co-author of House Bill 2800 (before he left office), the law is meant to remind people that, when they are planning what happens to their real-world estate, they should probably figure out what they want done with their virtual stuff as well.

"The number of people who use Facebook today is almost equal to the population of the United States," said Kiesel. "When a person dies, someone needs to have legal access to their accounts to wrap up any unfinished business, close out the account if necessary or carry out specific instructions the deceased left in their will."

"Digital photo albums and e-mails are increasingly replacing their physical counterparts, and I encourage Oklahomans to think carefully about what they want to happen to these items when they pass away," he added.

The bill became the law of the land on November 1. The bill assumes ownership of social media accounts belong to the person that created them, but many sites like Facebook claim ownership via service agreements users sign off on when they sign up.

Kiesel has acknowledged that the law "may conflict" with those service agreements, but said that it is intended to "get people thinking about" taking care of all of their business before they pass on to the other side.

While not emphatically stated, the law could have jurisdiction over other types of online content such as Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, MMO accounts, etc. - and all the content within.


Comments

Re: OK Law Addresses Virtual Estates

I've actually thought about matters like this before. Not with "pixel assets" in an MMO or photos or even my music or Steam libraries, but with something much simpler. To the people I've met and regularly kept contact with, how to let them know if something happens to me.

Not to replace "real life" friends with internet ones, but there are genuinely some connections that I'd like to see resolved if I should suddenly die. I would not mind having that in a will, or giving access to my accounts in order to see those wishes fulfilled.

I understand that some websites have been set up to make automatic messages go out, but I'd like a legal, recognizable way to make sure any such death notice message sent out is real, intended, and believable to be true. I mean, any idiot can sign up a fake death notice in his buddy's name as a prank. To get a letter or email from the state of Oklahoma is a slightly more concrete message.

Re: OK Law Addresses Virtual Estates

Hmm, who to bequeath my DLC & iTunes downloads to?

Re: OK Law Addresses Virtual Estates

Makes sense to me!  I bequeath the games in my Steam account to...

- Left4Dead

Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

- Left4Dead Why are zombies always eating brains? I want to see zombies that eat toes for a living. Undead-related pun intended.

Re: OK Law Addresses Virtual Estates

I am curious, why do we need new laws to deal with this?  Wouldn't it fall under the same rules that cover all other intangible possessions?  How are these legally differnt?

Re: OK Law Addresses Virtual Estates

If they're attached to login accounts, as social network information generally is, then 'just' breaking into them or having them shut down by a third party might fall foul of any laws surrounding logins- I believe it's illegal to log into someone else's website account without the permission of the account holder in the UK- this would be a way of formalising the matter in a will.

/b

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which group is more ethically challenged?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Infophile(cont'd) discriminatory. This can only be done for protected classes which are outlined in law (race, sex, religion, ethnicity everywhere, sexual orientation in some states). So, a gay person could be fired because they're gay and have no recourse there.07/07/2015 - 7:27am
Infophile@Goth: See here: http://www.snopes.com/politics/sexuality/firedforbeinggay.asp for a good discussion on it. Basically, the problem is that in the US, most states allow at will firing, and it's the burden of the fired person to prove the firing was ...07/07/2015 - 7:25am
Goth_SkunkAssuming that's true, then that is a fight worth fighting for.07/07/2015 - 6:58am
Yuuri@ Goth_Skunk, in many states being gay is not a protected status akin to say race or religion. It's also in the "Right to work" states. Those are the states where one can be fired for any reason (provided it isn't a "protected" one.)07/07/2015 - 6:07am
Goth_Skunkregarded as a beacon of liberty and freedom that is the envy of the world, would not have across-the-board Human Rights laws that don't at the very least equal those of my own country.07/07/2015 - 5:47am
Goth_SkunkI find that hard to believe, Infophile. I have difficulty believing employers can *still* fire people for being gay. I would need to see some evidence that this is fact, because as a Canadian, I can't believe that the United States,07/07/2015 - 5:46am
InfophileFor that matter, even women don't yet have full legal equality with men. The US government still places limits on the positions women can serve in the military. And that's just the legal side of things - the "culture wars" are more than just laws.07/07/2015 - 5:43am
InfophileAnd that's just LGB issues. Get ready for an incoming battle on rights for trans* people. And then after that, a battle for poly people.07/07/2015 - 5:41am
InfophileA battle's been won. In many states employers can still fire people for being gay. And in many states, parents can force their children into reparative therapy to try to "fix" being gay. Those battles still need to be fought.07/07/2015 - 5:40am
Goth_Skunkand now they've switched to battles that don't need to be fought.07/07/2015 - 5:37am
Goth_SkunkIn my opinion, it was the final legal hurdle denying homosexual couples final and recognized statuses as eligible spouses. But even though this war's been won, some people are still too keen to keep fighting battles,07/07/2015 - 5:28am
Goth_SkunkAnd it's a trend I don't mind seeing continue. Same-sex marriage was at long-last made definitively legal by SCOTUS, and it's about time. I'm glad it's finally happened, as it was desperately needed.07/07/2015 - 5:25am
Infophile(cont'd) It started long before that. Perhaps the American Civil War comes to mind?)07/07/2015 - 3:59am
InfophileOn Goth's linked article: Historically speaking, there may have been cycles, but remember that the left has steadily gained ground. Is there a good reason to expect that to be different this time? (Oh, and no, Culture War 1.0 wasn't with the Baby Boomers.07/07/2015 - 3:59am
Goth_Skunk"THIS VIDEO IS PROBLEMATIC:" About Social Justice Warriors, by J.T. Sexkik. Excellent video. http://ow.ly/PgGnD07/07/2015 - 3:22am
Goth_Skunkand repeats the cycle, over and over. Presently, the far left culture is overreaching, and is about to lose their stranglehold on power.07/06/2015 - 10:01pm
Goth_SkunkAs far back as the 60's, according to the writers. The culture war moves in cycles from one generation to the next. The left rebels against the right, takes over, overreaches to the point where the right rebels right back, takes over, overreaches ->07/06/2015 - 9:58pm
MattsworknameGoth, what "Comming overreach" , the media and goverment have been overreaching for years07/06/2015 - 9:34pm
MattsworknameJim sterling is awesome ,dont always agree with him, but when it came to those guys, he was dead on. Thank god for jim.07/06/2015 - 9:33pm
Goth_Skunk"Welcome to Culture War 4.0: The Coming Overreach" an excellent opinion piece by The Federalist. http://ow.ly/Pggw507/06/2015 - 9:32pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician