As new technology enters our lives, society is becoming even more dependent on digital assets. However, the more information we put into these digital assets, the more information we leave behind for our fiduciaries to manage. Learning how and why we must integrate access to this information within our estate plans was the main focus of our latest Google+ Hangout: Estate Planning in the Digital Age, co-hosted with Bankrate.com on October 23rd.
Over the years we have seen the problems caused by lack of laws and regulations around digital assets, mainly due to the fact that technology continues to evolve year after year. The Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, further explained in our Hangout, works to address the issues surrounding confidentiality and access to digital assets in this changing world. This Act aims to put users back in control of their digital assets, taking the power away from developers.
Suzanne Brown Walsh, Principal at Cummings & Lockwood and Drafting Committee Chair of the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, covered processes for including digital assets in estate plans, difficulties that can occur when there is no plan access to assets, ways to combat Terms of Service agreements and other roadblocks standing in the way of access, and how the Digital Assets Act provides new ways of thinking and planning.
SUZANNE BROWN WALSH QUOTES:
“Make sure that when you are disposing of your assets, you are including, specifically, your digital assets.”
“Make sure your fiduciary is competent to deal with the digital assets. Is this someone who knows where to look for your digital assets and have you told them what they are and where to look?”
“The biggest problem is most of the Terms of Service agreements flat out prohibit third party access. Many of them prohibit transfer of the account as well. Our act doesn’t give the fiduciary the right to transfer, where the account holder doesn’t have it, but it does provide that the fiduciary be given the access.”