Divorcing and checking out of the mortal and physical world domain – online assets in limbo: a call for the regulation of the digital legacy

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    English: For the majority of people, an online existence has currently become an incontrovertible reality. This article explores the various ways of handling digital or online assets both before and after death. The article starts by describing possible definitions of digital or online assets, followed by a close and critical examination of the efficacy of measures initially put in place by service providers to regulate their relationship with online users. Various legislative provisions recently promulgated in a number of states in America are compared, critically evaluated and discussed, whereafter the existing provisions of the Matrimonial Property Act No. 88 of 1984, the Divorce Act No. 70 of 1979 and the Administration of Estates Act No. 66 of 1965 are closely examined with a view to testing and evaluating their effectiveness in dealing with digital assets both before and after death. The discussion culminates with a call for the amendment of the relevant South African provisions, while giving possible suggestions to the same effect.