Executors and Electronic Assets of the Estate

What happens to your Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Ebay, PayPal and other digital assets when you die? According to the current Canadian law, we do not know.

At the present time, neither the federal nor provincial legislatures have addressed this growing issue in estate administration. While some electronic service providers may cooperate with an Executor who presents a Grant of Probate or a similarly vetted document, they are under no compulsion under law to do so, absent a court order.

Electronic service providers may be bound by privacy laws or other restrictive user agreements which do not provide or allow for the succession of a deceased’s digital assets. This leaves the eerie possibility that a deceased’s Facebook account might remain active long after their death and may even potentially generate activity through various auto updating site integrations. Quite the dilemma for the Executor and loved ones of the deceased.

A number of American states have picked up on the issue and have pushed through legislation for estate planners which specifically addresses a deceased’s digital legacy, notably Idaho and Oklahoma. Other states have similar legislation dealing with electronic mail and other digital files.