Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Newly Revised Act Helps Fiduciaries Do Their Job With Digital Assets


Indiana passed the adoption of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) in its 2016 legislative session.  “The UFADAA does not create new law insomuch as it mends a large gap that prohibits fiduciaries from doing their legally mandated job,” explains Victoria Blachly on the American Bar Association website.

For years now, our attorneys at Geyer & Associates have been cautioning clients to consider their online assets, along with their real estate and investment accounts, when it comes to estate planning.

What is included under the category of online or digital assets?
  • Email accounts
  • Picture and video files
  • Social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Domain names
  • Games
  • Tablets, flash drives, CDs and DVDs
Do you have bank or investment account statements delivered to you online? asks Blachly. What about the hundreds or thousands of photographs of your charming family or adorable pets stored on-line? Even if an authorized user has the password to access your account, is that a fraudulent cybercrime?  All these questions and more lead to one inescapable issue, she says: the Internet is outrunning the law.

Now, we’re happy to report, a newly revised UFADAA is reducing the roadblocks estate representatives have been facing in dealing with digital assets in an estate.  “The revised
UFADAA  is an overlay statute designed to work in conjuction with a state’s existing laws on probate, guardianship, trust, and powers of attorney,” Blachly explains.

Key provisions of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act include:
  • A fiduciary of a user may request that a custodian terminate the user’s account (the custodian must comply within 60 days).
  • Users may name another person to have access to the account, and those online instructions are legally enforceable.
  • Estate representatives have access to one year’s worth of records if relevant to resolving fiscal assets of the estate.
At Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, we believe the key takeaway for clients is that the UFADAA gives Internet users the power to plan for the management of their digital assets in the same way as they plan for their tangible property.

It’s crucial for all Power of Attorney documents to include a digital property section!

- by Rebecca W. Geyer

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