By David Shulman

I’ve written before about finding and having access to your “digital assets” and online accounts after death. Well there is a development that will hopefully make this process a bit easier.

The Uniform Law Commission has approved the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. This act allows fiduciaries – personal representatives/executors, trustees, guardians, and agents acting under a power of attorney, to have access to the principal’s email and other online. The includes not just after death, but if a person is incapacitated, or has otherwise designated someone else to act on their behalf.

I The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act solves the problem using the concept of “media neutrality.” If a fiduciary would have access to a tangible asset, that fiduciary will also have access to a similar type of digital asset. – Uniform Law Commission Press Releasewas appointed an advisor to the drafting committee by the American Bar Association, and I’m glad to see that everyone’s hard work has paid off. The committee members, including chair Susy Walsh, and the Reporter, Professor Naomi Cahn (who was my 1L contracts professor at George Washington University Law School), put forth a great deal of effort into making a workable law.

The Uniform Law Commission drafts “model” or “uniform” state laws. It is then up to the individual state legislatures to decide whether to adopt the uniform law as is, make changes to it,
or not adopt it at all. Hopefully, states will adopt it as is, and not muck with it very much. I would also like to see Congress change some of the internet privacy laws to make access to fiduciaries more straightforward.

I will write about the Act (now referred to as UFADA) itself in a future post.

Download the draft of the act.

A copy of the final draft can be found here.