A friend of mine just pointed out a very interesting article on Marketwatch, who inherits your itunes library, which deals with the new reality of music and book ownership.
In the days before iTunes if someone who had a large physical collection of records, cd's or books passed away it was very typical that this was part of their estate. It could be specifically devised to individuals or divided among the distributees of the deceased. But what happens when this impressive collection is intangible. As the article points out, you don't own albums or books through iTunes. What you own is a license to view this content. So does the license die with you, regardless of how much money you may have spent over your lifetime acquiring this cloud based library?
One area that the article does not touch upon is the world of massive multiplayer online role-playing games (mmorpg for the short) and social gaming. What happens to the avatars of deceased players? Some of these avatars represent a large investment of time and money. Will arguments be made that they should be treated as an asset of the estate, especially if it can be shown that a monetary value can be assigned to the characters? Will the next few years see a development of Farmville trusts? It sounds ridiculous, but with estates and property law barely embracing the 20th century who can say what will happen when it decides to embrace the twenty-first.