New Law Grants Access to Deceased’s Digital Assets

Sep 6, 2016

A law recently signed by Governor Bruce Rauner will make it easier for Illinois residents to access family members' social media accounts after they die.  The legislation requires that tech companies, such as Facebook, offer users a chance to name a beneficiary who would be given access to the account after they die or become incapacitated.  

Hillside Democratic Representative Chris Welch sponsored the law.

“Your loved ones might want to have access to those photos that you post on Facebook. Under existing law, those companies give you a hard time if you want to access their account. But this law allows you a mechanism to take care of that.”

The measure also lets judges treat digital assets, including what they posted to social media profiles, like other possessions. That opens the door to allowing access even if the deceased user didn’t name a beneficiary.