These days, almost all of us have digital assets. Believe me, it’s not just cryptocurrency—it’s things like all the photos you have stored on your computer or your phone, music or movies you paid for and therefore own that are stored on a computer or with an account on Amazon or Apple, it’s all the emails stored on your email server. It’s access to any and all software that you have downloaded or paid to use and stored information on.
Pennsylvania has a law governing these assets, the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets. The law details what types of powers can be given to a power of attorney agent, a will executor, a trustee, or a guardian. Many companies that hold digital assets have their own rules and ability to make designations if you do not include instructions in your estate planning documents. For example, Facebook has some very specific rules about who can access your account when you die, and even whether or not they are allowed to shut it down. Powers of Attorney will need to explicitly include language that the Agent can access digital assets or it will not be allowed. Even if you do have language in your document, if you make a specific provision with the company itself (e.g. Facebook) that overrides any document you make later.
Digital assets can be some of the most important assets you have, think of all the photos and videos we keep only electronically these days. Without careful language, those assets might be out of reach of your heirs after you die. If you don’t have language regarding digital assets in your estate planning documents, contact our office at 717-761-4540 and see if it’s time to update your estate plan.