Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act – Suggestions for Addressing Digital Assets in an Estate Plan Backup

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann, a Freehold, NJ Probate and Estate Administration Attorney

Introduction

The internet has changed the way we all conduct our lives.  It now presents challenges in the probate of an estate in administration or if and when the digital asset owner becomes incapacitated and the power of attorney needs access to the account.

What are Digital Assets?

There is no uniform, well-established definition of “digital assets”.

Common examples of personal digital assets include:

Financial

  • Online shopping accounts (website retailers)
  • Paypal and other bill pay accounts
  • Ebay and other auction accounts
  • Online financial accounts (e.g., bank, brokerage, credit card)
  • Financial records stored online or electronically (e.g., account statements, invoices, tax returns, balance sheets, budgets)

Non-financial

  • Email accounts and text messages
  • Social networking profiles/pages and blog postings
  • Electronic collections including music, books and games (and electronic assets purchased or won within games)

What should you do?

  • Prepare a comprehensive list of your digital assets
  • Provide access to the fiduciary – maintain a secure list of digital assets, usernames and passwords to be provided to the fiduciary (e.g., password managers)

To discuss your NJ probate or estate administration matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.