The Uniform Laws Commission has released its final revision of the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which was revised earlier this year in a compromise between the ULC and industry opposition.
As described by the ULC:
A fiduciary is a person appointed to manage the property of another person, subject to strict duties to act in the other person’s best interest. Common types of fiduciaries include executors of a decedent’s estate, trustees, conservators, and agents under a power of attorney. This act extends the traditional power of a fiduciary to manage tangible property to include management of a person’s digital assets. The act allows fiduciaries to manage digital property like computer files, web domains, and virtual currency, but restricts a fiduciary’s access to electronic communications such as email, text messages, and social media accounts unless the original user consented in a will, trust, power of attorney, or other record.
While I regret that a stronger act was not possible, I fully support this revised version of the UFADA. This represents a significant step forward in digital estate planning and affords protection for the most important digital assets.
The explicit exclusion of electronic communications such as email, text messages, and social media accounts, is unfortunate as many of these assets can provide important information and/or access to an estate, however the privacy compromise is reasonable. Under this new act, the need to plan ahead and create your own digital estate plan will become increasingly important.
I look forward to seeing all fifty states enact this revised act.