HOW TO PROTECT AND SAFEGUARD DIGITAL ASSETS
The Connecticut State Legislature passed the Connecticut Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act that took effect on October 1, 2016. The Act allows four types of fiduciaries (executors/administrators, conservators, an agent who has a power of attorney, and a trustee) to exercise authority and control over a person’s digital assets. The definition of digital assets includes: electronic records, emails, social media accounts, digital files, and virtual currency.
Under the law a fiduciary can access or terminate a digital account provided a process is followed in providing the account’s custodian proper notice and proof of authority. The Act does not apply to an employer’s digital assets used by employees in the ordinary course of business. Under certain conditions the user can prevent access to some or all of his/her digital assets, or the court can prohibit access.
The Act requires the fiduciary accessing a digital asset to exercise a duty of care, loyalty and confidentiality. Not later than 60 days after receipt of required information from the fiduciary, the custodian of the digital assets must comply with the request for access. The fiduciary may apply to the court for an order directing a custodian of digital assets to comply.
A person can provide for access to digital assets by including such authority in their Will, Trust, Power of Attorney or Conservator Designation. It is equally important however, that a person collect and preserve vital information to allow your fiduciary to gain access to digital assets.
Some simple rules to follow:
1. Collect and inventory user names, passwords, server codes, websites addresses, and software so all digital assets can be located and accessed;
2. Identify a designated person who is technologically skilled to assist in finding and accessing your digital assets;
3. Make a list of all important access information for your fiduciary to have so they know how to find and access digital assets. At the same time be sure to protect this information!
4. Leave directions for your fiduciary stating your wishes on what you want him/her to do with your digital assets. Digital assets can include pictures, documents, private information, financial data, and the like.
Many on-line services also have instruction records to provide instructions in case of incompetency, inability or death.
Take time to research the protocols of your digital custodian.
If you would like more information, please contact Attorney David A. Baram (860) 242-2221 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can be valuable in protecting digital assets and in safeguarding your private digital records.
For more information, please contact Attorney David Baram.