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21st Century Mourning (and Immortality)


Credit:  WuMo by Wulff & Morgenthaler

License:  Fair Use/Education

Solitaire Confinement

0mmui8h1We have already traveled this road, but it is worth revisiting.  After the death of her husband in August, a Canadian woman was locked out of her husband’s Apple account because she did not know his Apple ID.  She discovered this when her favorite card game would not function and she was unable to reinstall the game. Apple told her she needed  a court order to change the password, or she could create her own Apple ID and repurchase the game.

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Google and Death

Google recently updated its terms of service to make it easier for the relatives of a deceased owner of a Google account to deal with the account.  By checking a box, an individual can request that Google close an account, notify Google that a user is deceased, request the payment of funds from a deceased user’s account, and obtain data from a deceased user’s account.  The request page is here.

Three brief points:

1.  This is a a rare example of Google acting uncharacteristically altruistic instead of operating solely in its own self interest.

2.  The wills I draft always have provisions permitting an executor to access the digital accounts and digital assets of a deceased individual.

3.  The request to obtain data from a deceased user’s account does not apply to the NSA – they already have it.



Semper Fi

A former Marine signed onto Facebook last week and announced he was going to take his own life.  He documented the process with graphic photos including a final post that said “Im leakinging good now.”   While he lay dying in an unoccupied building, his Marine Corps. buddies were frantically trying to locate him and plead with him to not kill himself.  After his death, Facebook did not remove the graphic photos of his final moments because “they did not violate the terms of community service.”  Eventually, Facebook temporarily removed the account pending a ruling from his family.  In a nutshell, if a person dies, the options for his Facebook account are to memorialize the account or for the family to remove it.  Meanwhile, the former Marines used Facebook to reach out to their comrades who might be struggling and offered to drop everything they were doing to assist one another.

Several points:

1.  People should address their digital assets in their wills and give their executor the authority to dispose of or transfer the digital assets.

2.  One can always count on Facebook to do the wrong thing.

3.  The brotherhood of the Marines is awesome beyond description.


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I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.