In Being Mortal, an incredibly rich and revealing book about what people care about as they age, Dr. Atul Gawande described how impressed he was by the importance people placed on maintaining control of their lives.
As is often the case, sometimes it takes a while for the law to catch up with society's technological advances. Since the Internet is invisible, most people forget that their intangible digital assets are just as real as their tangible personal property. Currently, there are an estimated thirty million Facebook accounts that belong to people who are deceased. According to McAfee, in 2011 American consumers valued their digital assets, including online gaming, photos, music, client lists, bank accounts and bill-paying accounts at an average of $55,000 per person. And yet, few people plan for what will happen to those digital accounts when they die. Only a handful of states have addressed the ability of fiduciaries to handle and/or close down a decedent's or incapacitated person's accounts.