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The MSBA's Business Law, Probate & Trust and Computer & Technology Law Sections Present


"Digital Death: Can Estates or Heirs Gain Access to Online Pictures, Social Networks, Emails, and Accounts?"

Which rights pass to the estate or heirs, in terms of passwords, email accounts, social network material, photo websites, online back-up sites, other “cloud-related” services, digital certificates under digital signature law, digital authentication devices that control electronic payments, and even virtual "goods" and avatars in online games? 

Participants will walk away with a key understanding of:

  • How to find, access, value, protect, and transfer online accounts and digital property; 
  • How to plan ahead for (or deal with) passwords, online accounts, and digital property during incapacity and after death;
  • How to value digital property on an inventory or estate tax return;
  • How the intersection of privacy laws and criminal laws with fiduciary roles (guardian, conservator, agent under a power of attorney, personal representative of an estate, and trustee of a trust) can have a chilling effect on estate administration;
  • To what extent online service providers can alter the rights of the user’s estate and heirs to access and use online accounts and digital property; 
  • To what extent the user can determine which electronic rights pass or do not pass to his or her estate or heirs, despite the contract governing the online account; and
  • What happens to an online account that is accessed by biometrics, such as the fingerprint or retinal scan of the decedent?


Professor Christina L. Kunz (Moderator), William Mitchell College of Law

Michael J. McGuire (Panelist), Littler Mendelson PC

Damien A. Riehl (Panelist), Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.

James D. Lamm (Panelist), Gray Plant Mooty

1.5 hours of Standard CLE credits approved
Event Code:



Date:   Thursday, September 29, 2011
Time:   11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location:   Leonard Street & Deinard
150 South Fifth Street Minneapolis, MN 55402 [Directions/Map]

Please join us for lunch at 11:15 a.m., followed by the seminar from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Note: the conference center is located on the 16th floor. Limited seating is available. Register early.


Section Members:  Free
MSBA Members (But Not Business, Probate or CTLS Section Members):  $20.00
Non-MSBA Members:  $30.00
Law Students:  Free

Teleconferencing is available. Request instructions when you register or contact Sue Bores. Instructions will be sent to you via email on or before September 28, 2011.

Cancellation Policy:

Refunds will be processed for cancellation requests received in writing on or before noon on the registration deadline. Requests should be directed to the event contact person listed at the bottom of this notice. Cancellation requests received after this time are not eligible for refunds. You may send a colleague in your place if you are unable to join us and the registration deadline has passed.

Requests for an exception to this policy should be directed to Elyse Farnsworth, Section Services Director, by e-mail or at (612) 278-6336