Stephen S. Wu-- SL: Legal Writer,, (408) 573-5737, 50 W. San Fernando St., Ste. 750, San Jose, CA 95113

Transitioning User Accounts Under User Estate Plans

Last April, I wrote a post about how users of online services, including virtual worlds, can plan for their own death or disability through appropriate estate planning mechanisms. The flip side of users planning for the continuity (or deletion) of their accounts holding their online assets is service providers planning for users’ death or disability. Service providers may receive inquiries from relatives of users that have died or become disabled. They may also receive inquiries from agents and representatives purporting to act on behalf of disabled or deceased users. How should service providers plan for users’ death or disability? Read More...

White Paper on Estate Planning for Online Assets

Last December, I wrote about what happens to your virtual property when you die. See the blog post here. Since then, I had an opportunity to write a white paper about it and present it to the Silicon Valley Bar Association. I expanded on the concepts in my blog post to cover online assets generally. For a copy of the white paper, click here. For a copy of my handout notes from the SVBA talk, click here. Read More...

What Happens to Your Virtual Property When You Die?

Virtual property is worth real money. It may include virtual real estate in the Second Life® virtual world like Ansche Chung’s real estate that exceed $1M US in value, or may simply be trade secret source code or business plan that you store in some online backup storage service like Mozy. What happens to your virtual property held in your own name when you die? People will now need to account for their virtual property in their estate plans. It is not on the radar screens of estate planning lawyers, but it should be. Read More...