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arabellajones

What happens if you die?

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This topic came up in a rather euphemism-laden part of Ebbe Linden's "Meet the Lindens" session on Wednesday, and there seem to be two very obvious things that got missed. I'm writing from experience of being an Executor under English law, which means being the person named to handle the assets of somebody who has died. It wasn't complicated, but these two points are pretty fundamental.

My starting point is somebody who has IP assets generating income in Second Life. Every so often, the income accumulates enough to be worth cashing out. But what happens if you die?

1: How does your executor know about it?

That's the obvious question. For me, I have made stuff, it sells, but the total income is tiny. It's just not worth bothering about. For other people, if you're paying taxes on your income from SL, and your payments to Linden Lab could be a business expense too, your executor should be able to find out from your business records. The job is all about paying any debts and collecting any monies due. Make it easy for them.

2: And what procedures do Linden Lab have to deal with their side of things? Banks have procedures for this, and some of what Linden Lab do comes under rules applied to banking. Essentially, as an executor, there are documents that prove the person is dead, that he controlled a particular account, and you are the executor, and the bank needs to see them.

I suppose Linden Lab would come under California State Law and US Federal Law on this. It is a problem that people have dealt with, and the costs of proving all this, probably hiring an attorney, could make the whole thing not worth the bother. But some people do make enough money to be worth the effort.

If I wrote a book, sold it to a publisher, went through all the editing process, saw it go on sale, and then died, my estate would get all the payments due. The publisher would continue to have the right to publish it, that's part of the contract we would have, but there would be a time limit in the contract too. Copyright can last a long time after death, but how long will people want to read it for? I know a little about how books work, and there's a lot of legal history covering this sort of problem. The money gets to the creator, and their heirs.

Linden Lab have to be careful, that's part of the law, and there are tens of millions of dollar getting paid out to users, every year, payments other residents make for the right to use IP of all sorts. That's why it surprised me that Ebbe seemed so vague on the topic.

(Yes, you could leave details of your username and password for your executor. They could log in, take the L$, and delete the Marketplace store. That wouldn't be lawful.)

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Death! the one guarantee in this world. 

2 hours ago, arabellajones said:

1: How does your executor know about it?

You tell them? 

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4 hours ago, arabellajones said:

This topic came up in a rather euphemism-laden part of Ebbe Linden's "Meet the Lindens" session on Wednesday, and there seem to be two very obvious things that got missed. I'm writing from experience of being an Executor under English law, which means being the person named to handle the assets of somebody who has died. It wasn't complicated, but these two points are pretty fundamental.

My starting point is somebody who has IP assets generating income in Second Life. Every so often, the income accumulates enough to be worth cashing out. But what happens if you die?

1: How does your executor know about it?

That's the obvious question. For me, I have made stuff, it sells, but the total income is tiny. It's just not worth bothering about. For other people, if you're paying taxes on your income from SL, and your payments to Linden Lab could be a business expense too, your executor should be able to find out from your business records. The job is all about paying any debts and collecting any monies due. Make it easy for them.

2: And what procedures do Linden Lab have to deal with their side of things? Banks have procedures for this, and some of what Linden Lab do comes under rules applied to banking. Essentially, as an executor, there are documents that prove the person is dead, that he controlled a particular account, and you are the executor, and the bank needs to see them.

I suppose Linden Lab would come under California State Law and US Federal Law on this. It is a problem that people have dealt with, and the costs of proving all this, probably hiring an attorney, could make the whole thing not worth the bother. But some people do make enough money to be worth the effort.

If I wrote a book, sold it to a publisher, went through all the editing process, saw it go on sale, and then died, my estate would get all the payments due. The publisher would continue to have the right to publish it, that's part of the contract we would have, but there would be a time limit in the contract too. Copyright can last a long time after death, but how long will people want to read it for? I know a little about how books work, and there's a lot of legal history covering this sort of problem. The money gets to the creator, and their heirs.

Linden Lab have to be careful, that's part of the law, and there are tens of millions of dollar getting paid out to users, every year, payments other residents make for the right to use IP of all sorts. That's why it surprised me that Ebbe seemed so vague on the topic.

(Yes, you could leave details of your username and password for your executor. They could log in, take the L$, and delete the Marketplace store. That wouldn't be lawful.)

Lindens aren't considered "income" until they're changed to a form that's negotiable, and that has to be done actively. An account with no living owner/controller can't generate "income" because there's nobody to change Lindens to an actual currency.

As far as rights and reproduction, that's why the TOS requires you to license Linden Lab to perform any display/reproduction that would be necessary to use your IP in Second Life.

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Posted (edited)

This has been discussed before here -- most likely in the merchants category since those are the folks that tend to cash out often (and land barons of course).  As I remember many  of the people responding to that thread have TOLD the person that will handle their estate about Second Life and profits from their account. 

 

In the past people have taken over avatars and continued with "a brand" after the death of a creator. This after going through legal steps with Linden Lab. This is probably only practical if the person inheriting the account is familiar with Second Life.  With an actual need to create a transfer one would obviously need to contact the company to find out exactly what steps need to be taken.  As far as I know, death is the only reason that accounts can be transferred.  

 

Not sure what the wiki says, but the wikis are notoriously NOT kept up so I would contact Linden Lab directly and ask for more information. 

Edited by Chic Aeon

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24 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

 the wikis are notoriously NOT kept up so I would contact Linden Lab directly and ask for more information. 

there is not a lot to be kept up in this matter, it's pretty simple, you need the documents as written there.

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Every aspect of my online existence is documented in the "oh sh.... " file, account names and the master password to my archive of login details etc, along with insurance policies, account numbers etc. The location of that hard copy file is in the documents my lawyer is instructed to hand to the executor of my will. When the day comes that I depart this existence, my executor will be instructed to wind up any and all virtual assets and roll them into my (probably pitifully small) estate. Where there is a social media aspect to the account - and SL is included in that - they will be instructed to review the policies surrounding an account held by a deceased individual on each platform and be guided by my family members wishes on how to proceed, with the assumption that if I didn't trust this person to perform this task to the best of their ability with absolute integrity, I would not have named them my executor in the first place. Appropriately witnessed documents granting  my executor full authority over my surviving online accounts are also in the file.

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3 hours ago, Kyrah Abattoir said:

So without a will, does this means no one can inherit your account?

i think .. as european, a will isn't the only legal document that can prove the claim. No will doesn't change the rights of a related person, it only makes the laws kick in, meaning a dividing of the left goods/properties according that law ( with the connected taxes of course:)  ) a will is only needed, and required, when people want to change the way a inheritance has to be divided or when third parties are mentioned in the document.
A lawyer, or as in the Netherlands a notary can make a official document that is the same, or even overruling a will. (in extreme cases you need a court ruling)

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Maybe a related question.

Can I bequeath my business to Linden Lab itself?

What if I want to do this for like a charity type of purpose in the event of my death.  A charity run within Second Life itself.  

Can I do this?

 

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8 hours ago, Alwin Alcott said:

i think .. as european, a will isn't the only legal document that can prove the claim. No will doesn't change the rights of a related person, it only makes the laws kick in, meaning a dividing of the left goods/properties according that law ( with the connected taxes of course:)  ) a will is only needed, and required, when people want to change the way a inheritance has to be divided or when third parties are mentioned in the document.
A lawyer, or as in the Netherlands a notary can make a official document that is the same, or even overruling a will. (in extreme cases you need a court ruling)

From my point of view, I'm just wondering what are the steps to ensure no one inherits my stuff >_>.

I know, I'm weird.

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59 minutes ago, Kyrah Abattoir said:

From my point of view, I'm just wondering what are the steps to ensure no one inherits my stuff >_>.

I know, I'm weird.

not weird
 

think you can put it in your will, perhaps possibe to let your lawyer send a removal request for your data.

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