Maroney Law Blog

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Digital Asset Accessibility

Delaware recently became the first state to pass legislation that affords families access to the digital assets of a deceased or incapacitated loved. Signed into law on August 12th, the new law allows fiduciaries to access to digital assets, such as email, social media, health care, and other accounts, just as they would take possession of physical ones. 

Previously, fiduciaries were bound by the inflexible terms-of-use policies of the individual service providers, many of which were insufficient or simply nonexistent.

For example, Facebook allows individuals to request that a decedent's account be turned into a memorial or removed. However, due to privacy reasons, the social network cannot provide anyone with login information. Another social media mega-site, Twitter, currently allows family members to request that a deceased or incapacitated loved one's account be deactivated.  However, Twitter does not simply hand over the password to the account.

Delaware is the first state to pass a law of this kind. Fiduciary access to digital assets, which has long been championed by the Uniform Law Commission, a nonprofit organization that provides states with non-partisan legislation. According to the ULC, Delaware’s adoption of this new legislation may have the domino effect of inspiring other states to adopt legislation that makes dealing with digital remains a much more seamless process.

Until the widespread adoption of legislation that would make such digital assets more accessible by fiduciaries, strategic estate planning can help alleviate such potential barriers. For more information on asset management, contact our skilled trust & estate attorneys at Maroney Associates, PLLC.  

Based in Melville and Garden City, New York, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Maroney Associates, PLLC assist clients throughout Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and the cities of Mineola, Hempstead, New Hyde Park, Franklin Square, Williston Park, Queens Village, Melville, Huntington, Farmingdale, Patchogue and Uniondale, NY.

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