Digital Assets and Fiduciaries
Research Handbook on Electronic Commerce Law, John A. Rothchild, ed., Edward Elger, 2016
24 Pages Posted: 8 May 2015
Date Written: 2016
This chapter addresses the appropriate treatment of a person's digital life when the account holder can no longer manage it. As the Internet becomes an increasingly important presence in our daily lives, the law has a significant role to play in determining the management of digital assets upon the account holder's incapacity or death. In the past, people put hard copies of photos in albums, listened to record albums, and paid bills with a stamped envelope. Today, most people use the Internet to store photos, listen to music, and pay bills. Yet few people have considered how to dispose of their digital assets.
This chapter explores the legal issues for trusts, estates, conservatorships, and powers of attorney. It addresses the importance of fiduciaries being able to manage an account holder's digital assets, and the obstacles under federal and state law to a fiduciary assuming that role. Finally, it shows how the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act provides a solution to ensure effectuation of the account holder's intent.
Keywords: digital assets, fiduciaries, estate planning
JEL Classification: K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation