When a person passes on, they often leave a lot behind. While many details may be taken care of in an estate plan, others could slip through the cracks. This is even more so the case in today’s day and age, with technology becoming such a big part of everyone’s life.
Recently, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled against the internet giant Yahoo. The court came to the conclusion that federal law does not prevent the company from providing representatives of a dead man’s estate with the password to his email account.
This is a big win for two people who have been in a legal battle with Yahoo for several years after their brother’s passing. They have been seeking access to his email account; however, Yahoo was refusing to provide the information.
Early in the case, a lower court judge ruled that the Stored Communications Act prohibited Yahoo from disclosing the emails to the estate. However, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did not agree. The judge overseeing the case had this to say:
“Rather, it permits Yahoo to divulge the contents of the e-mail account where, as here, the personal representatives lawfully consent to disclosure on the decedent’s behalf.’
With this ruling in place, it will be interesting to see what happens with similar cases in the future.
It is stories like these that show just how important it is to create a comprehensive estate plan. For many people, this means leaving behind information regarding account access. With the right approach to estate planning, anyone can make it easier for his or her loved ones to access important data after his or her passing.
Source: Fortune, “Massachusetts Court: Yahoo Can Give Dead Man’s Emails to Siblings,” Oct. 16, 2017