New Law Could Provide Easier Access to Online Accounts after Death of Client

New Law Could Provide Easier Access to Online Accounts after Death of Client

A new bill was introduced in 11 different states this month that could help give estate executors easier access to their deceased loved one’s online accounts.

The legislation is named the revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. It contains some guidelines and general procedures for gaining access to an individual’s online accounts after his or her death, including bank accounts, email and social media networks.

This bill is hosted by the Uniform Law Commission and has combined elements of two different pieces of legislation that were the subject of discussion in legislatures at this time last year. Under the bill, the deceased individual’s declared personal representative would have legal access to any digital files, accounts and currency, along with the contents of digital communications as specified in wills, trusts or any other estate planning documents. Versions of the bill are under discussion in legislatures in Tennessee, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana, Hawaii and Florida.

Benefits for both clients and representatives

The bill would also give estate planners the opportunity to more clearly outline how they want all of their digital accounts and assets to be managed after they pass. If the individual setting up the estate plan does not provide any direction for how digital assets should be handled, the personal representative would then abide by the terms of service set by each digital company.

The way these digital assets are managed could be slightly more complicated for websites like PayPal and Pinterest, where there could potentially be intellectual property with significant value. This recent legislative push outlines how those issues would be handled.

To learn more about how to account for your digital assets now and in the years to come, contact a trusted Tampa estate planning attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.