Laws to look at data after death in NSW

The Law Reform Commission will explore whether NSW needs legislation to regulate who can access the digital assets of a person who has died or is incapacitated.

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Laws may be required to regulate who can access the digital assets of a person who has died. (AAP)

What happens to a person's social media accounts and other digital assets after they die is going to be examined.

The NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman says

"When a loved one passes away, bureaucratic hurdles and legal uncertainty are the last thing families and friends feel like confronting, so we need clear and fair laws to deal with these 21st-century problems," Mr Speakman said in a statement.

"In today's hyper-connected world, an unprecedented amount of work and socialising occurs online, yet few of us consider what happens to our digital assets once we're gone or are no longer able to make decisions," he said.

Legal action involving families seeking access to their deceased relative's digital assets is becoming more common overseas, however, it appears the Australian courts have not yet considered these issues.

In the US, 38 states have enacted laws giving people the power to plan for how their digital accounts are dealt with after they die, while in Canada any fiduciary of a deceased account holder has right of access to the assets.

Published 27 March 2018 at 9:22am
Source: AAP