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Delaware law allows estate executors to access digital assets

A new law in Delaware could provide answers to the tough questions that families face when a loved one passes away in the digital age.

The law allows executors of an estate to access the digital assets of the person who passed away. This includes email accounts, social media accounts, health records and cloud storage.

Some companies, such as Google, already offer users the option of assigning a beneficiary.

If an account is inactive for a certain amount of time, the beneficiary is contacted by Google and given the ability to log in to the Gmail account of the deceased so they can access important emails, shut down the account or even set an auto-reply message to friends.

Twitter also allows users to assign a beneficiary, but a death certificate must be presented before the account can be shut down.

Without a designated beneficiary, heirs can be in for a long and often unsuccessful battle to gain account access.

Supporters of Delaware's law hope other states will follow its lead so that family members will no longer have to deal with the corporate red tape following the death of a loved one.

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