Digitalization of Society and Objects of Hereditary Succession
The article explores the key issues that arise when digital assets make part of the estate. It considers how the classical theory of inheritance law could be used in the case of digital inheritance and what clarifications should be made to this theory. The purpose of the study is to examine the features of the category “heritable digital assets” and how it evolves as society undergoes digital transformation. To achieve this purpose, the first part of the study is focused on the general issues of the theory of heritable assets while the second part explores the problems of qualifying assets under civil law produced by digitalization of society (digital rights, cryptocurrencies, social network accounts) as heritable. Finally, the third part based on inductive reasoning formulates general conceptual problems of developing legislation for heritable digital assets. Based on the findings, the study concludes that the following legislative solutions to the identified problems are possible: prohibiting digital inheritance altogether; introducing regulation of inheritance specifically for digital assets; allowing digital assets to pass to estate only if they can be realistically made tradable; admitting that inheritance of digital assets is specific. Obviously, the choice of approach will largely depend on public policies regarding the digital economy that in their turn should rely on evidence-based concepts and realistic proposals. The author believes that regulation of legal relationships of digital inheritance in Russia could be based on a mixed method that combines traditional and technology-driven solutions. This is the best option if the assumption is made to allow digital assets into the estate only where they can be realistically made tradable.