Ancient peoples sent their dead to the grave with their prized possessions — precious stones, gilded weapons, and terracotta armies. But unlike these treasures, our digital property won't get buried with us. Our archived Facebook messages, old email chains, and even Tinder exchanges will hover untouched in the online cloud when we die.

Or maybe not.

Last week, the Uniform Law Commission drafted the , a model law that would let the relatives of a late loved one access the social media accounts of the deceased. A national lawyers' group, the ULC aims to standardize law across the country by recommending legislation for states to adopt, particularly when it comes to timely, fast-evolving issues.

"Where you used to have a shoebox full of family photos, now those photos are often posted to a website," notes Ben Orzeske, legislative counsel at the ULC.

That shoebox used to go to the executor of the deceased's will, who would open it and distribute its contents to family members. The will's author could decide what she wanted to give and to whom. The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act aims to make the digital shoebox equally accessible.

"This is the concept of 'media neutrality,' " Orzeske explained. "The law gives the executor of your estate access to digital assets in the same way he had access to your tangible assets in the old world. It doesn't matter if they're on paper or on a website."

what seemed private in life may turn public after death.

So is there a middle ground?

Some companies are working on it.

Yahoo Japan's lets the deceased choose for him or herself — before death, of course. The new platform allows the living user to craft farewell emails, prepare cancellations of subscription services, and choose certain photos and videos for postmortem deletion.

And sites in the United States are trying, too.

"Google has a tool on their dashboard called the ," Orzeske said. "It allows you to hit a switch and choose to have your emails deleted, preserved, or handed over to someone if your account is inactive for some amount of time."

This protects privacy even in death, letting a user choose to keep confidential communications confidential. "It serves the exact same purpose as making a will," Orzeske said.

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