Digital Assets in Estate Planning

For most of history, digital assets (ex: photos stored in the cloud, online accounts, etc.) did not exist. Their introduction changed a great deal about the way humans operate on a daily basis. Now, lawmakers have begun to address how digital assets affect estate planning. In 2017, the Montana Legislature adopted the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA). Before this act, it was difficult, if not impossible, for a fiduciary or personal representative to access the digital assets of someone who had passed away. The default provisions of RUFADAA do not grant access to digital communications (i.e. emails) without specific consent. However, fiduciaries do automatically have access to other digital assets, unless expressly prohibited. Specific directions regarding digital assets or digital communications can be made in a will, trust, or power of attorney. It may be helpful for an individual who would like their digital assets accessed by their personal representative to keep a separate document listing important account numbers or usernames with their will.