On October 1, 2016, Maryland’s Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act will come into effect, thereby giving a fiduciary (i.e., personal representative, guardian, agent or trustee) or a designated recipient (i.e., a person named using an online tool) the ability to request access to a person’s digital assets in certain circumstances. Digital Assets is defined as “an electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest.” The Act allows an individual to direct whether their digital content is disclosed, to whom and to what extent. This authority can be granted through an online tool provided by the custodian (e.g., Google has Inactive Account Manager or Facebook has Legacy Contact) or through an individual’s will, trust or power of attorney. Access may still be subject to the terms of service agreement and gives the custodian of such information (e.g., Google) some discretion as to the breadth of the disclosure and the ability to charge an administrative fee. If a request is made, the Act requires that a custodian comply no later than 60 days from the receipt of the request, including receipt of all the ancillary documentation associated with the request as detailed under the statute.
So, next steps for you? When creating accounts be sure to look for whether the website requires you to complete an online tool. You may want to opt out of using the online tool so that you can better control your wishes through your estate planning documents. Furthermore, if you reside in Maryland, you should review and update your estate planning documents to ensure that access to digital assets has been addressed in accordance with your wishes. Finally, you should create and store in a secure location a list of all your digital assets, including your credentials, so that your nominated fiduciaries know what assets to access during any period of incapacity and upon death. #estateplanning #estateadministration #digitalassets #MFADAA @bgnthebgn