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Legislature OKs digital assets measure

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Legislation that would protect one’s “digital assets” after death has been passed by the Florida Legislature.

The bill (SB 494) now heads to Gov. Rick Scott‘s desk after the House passed it 116-0 Wednesday. The Senate previously approved it on a 36-0 vote.

Under the bill, someone of a person’s choosing could have access to and control their financial accounts, social media and almost anything else the person has online after their death.

Those include emails, text messages, online photographs, documents stored in the cloud, electronic bank statements, and other electronic communications or records.

The “asset” manager could be next of kin, a friend, an attorney, or anyone the person selects.

State Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a Port Orange Republican, sponsored the bill.

“We are making sure that digital assets, which are integral to our lives now, are protected,” she said in a statement. “Digital assets will now be handled as part of our estate-planning process in a similar way to other valuable assets and property.”

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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