RUFADAA: What is It... Why We Should Be Concerned About Its Affect on Estate and Financial Planning

Author: Neil T. Goltermann

Our burgeoning online lives augers of a new world in matters of estate and financial planning, as well as the management of these assets by fiduciaries. Examples of digital assets include software; stored information on hard drives, backup drives, CDs, DVDs, thumb drives, or on the “cloud”; online presences on websites, blogs, social media, e mail, bank, brokerage and financial accounts, iTunes, music files, video games, shopping and travel accounts, and even bitcoins.

One cannot function in today’s world without a password or two, or perhaps 25. What happens to the Facebook and Google accounts of a deceased person? How are Facebook and Google, and other Internet providers notified when an account holder has died? How does the family of a loved one collect the deceased’s photos and digital music, or gain access to on-line bank accounts and records?

RUFADAA is the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. RUFADAA defines a “Digital Asset” as “an electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest. The term does not include an underlying asset or liability unless the asset or liability is itself an electronic record.” See, RUFADAA, Section 2(10).

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