The Times Herald (Norristown, PA)

Pennsylvan­ia has a new digital assets law on the books

- Janet Colliton Columnist

On Jan. 19, 2021 a new Pennsylvan­ia law regarding digital assets went into effect. If you do not recognize what a digital asset is or why this matters, you are not alone.

The law has the jawbreakin­g title of the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA). Here is what it means.

If you store your photograph­s in the cloud, have a Facebook or Instagram account or keep records of your financial transactio­ns in the cloud, or if you are carrying around with you passwords to multiple accounts and apps, you are probably dealing with digital assets on a regular basis. Digital assets could include your emails, favorite videos and music or important documents not otherwise saved in hard copy format.

The question is what happens if you become disabled or die and someone who might be an agent under power of attorney or an executor, personal representa­tive, or trustee needs to access your private informatio­n. There obviously is a delicate balance between privacy and the need for disclosure.

You could keep running lists of your user names and passwords and there are apps that aggregate these also and then share that informatio­n with a third party but if a person is not authorized to access your account he or she might run into problems later if challenged.

The Revised Uniform Fiduciary

Access to Digital Assets Act was passed by the Pennsylvan­ia State Legislatur­e and signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf on July 23, 2020 to take effect Jan. 19, 2021, making us the 48th state of 50 to pass the uniform law. It does not address all problems and the language is technical but it clarifies rights and procedures in a way not handled before.

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