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Digital afterlife: Fate of your email, other accounts when you die a matter of debate

FILE - This Feb. 16, 2013 file photo shows a printout of the Facebook page for Loren Williams, now deceased, at the Beaverton, Ore. home of his mother, Karen Williams. Williams sued Facebook for access to Loren's account after he died in a 2005 motorcycle accident at the age of 22. The Uniform Law Commission on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 was expected to endorse a plan to automatically give loved ones access to — but not control of — all digital accounts, unless otherwise specified. (AP Photo/Lauren Gambino, File)

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FILE - This Feb. 16, 2013 file photo shows a printout of the Facebook page for Loren Williams, now deceased, at the Beaverton, Ore. home of his mother, Karen Williams. Williams sued Facebook for access to Loren's account after he died in a 2005 motorcycle accident at the age of 22. The Uniform Law Commission on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 was expected to endorse a plan to automatically give loved ones access to — but not control of — all digital accounts, unless otherwise specified. (AP Photo/Lauren Gambino, File)

WASHINGTON - Should your emails, Web albums and other online accounts die when you do? Or should you be able to pass them down to a family member much as you would a house or a box of letters?

A leading group of lawyers says that families should immediately get access to everything online unless otherwise specified in a will. They are urging state lawmakers to enact their proposal so loved ones don't get shut out as American lives move increasingly online.

The Uniform Law Commission is made up of people appointed by state governments to help standardize state laws. On Wednesday the commission endorsed the plan for giving loved ones access to — but not control of — the deceased's digital accounts unless a will says otherwise.

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