Sucking Success Out of Minor Social Media Influencers: A Call for Testamentary Capacity Rights in Texas
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Part II of this Comment dives into the historical background of the evolving testamentary capacity age by examining societal shifts. This portion highlights that the testamentary capacity age has historically adapted to fit the surrounding societal circumstances to demonstrate that the testamentary capacity age is not fixed. This section also discusses the current testamentary capacity standards as well as public policy supporting these issues. By doing so, the discussion emphasizes that current safeguards could be extended to protect the interest of commercially valuable minor social media influencers (CVMSMIs). The next section of this Comment, Part III, focuses on minors’ rights in other areas of the law. This portion supports the argument that current laws covering minors are applied inconsistently. These inconsistencies arise because minors are granted more rights in other areas of the law that are arguably more regulated than testamentary law. This means that the testamentary capacity requirements arbitrarily disregard the rights of minors, due to their age, while other areas of the law recognize the importance of providing exceptions to qualifying minors. Part IV of this Comment addresses and examines the current laws regarding digital assets, and specifically, dives deeper into Texas’s adopted approach. This examination of the laws governing current digital asset planning calls for the Texas legislature to provide an exception to a CVMSMI to execute a valid will. Without the ability to execute a valid will, minors’ heirs may not be able to access their digital assets, though the account is valuable. Part V of this Comment explains the valuation of social media accounts. This section addresses the problematic situation CVMSMIs are in, explaining what a social media influencer is and the impact they have on society. The information discussed illustrates the need for an exception applicable to CVMSMIs in testamentary capacity law. By doing so, this Comment discusses the inadequate, current options these minors have to protect their digital assets, including the compensation they receive from their digital assets. Finally, Part VI of this Comment proposes an additional safeguard of appointing a guardian ad litem for CVMSMIs to ensure the execution is in minors’ best interest and thus specifically calls for a change to Texas legislation. This Comment concludes by proposing a process that will not clog courts or result in unnecessary court costs. Therefore, Texas statutes should create an exception to the testamentary capacity age to allow CVMSMIs to create an estate plan when their digital assets are of commercial value.