Arizona has adopted the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (adding Chapter 13 to Title 14 of the Arizona Revised Statutes) which specifically grants fiduciaries access to digital assets. The replacement of tangible assets such as documents previously stored in paper files and filing cabinets with documents stored electronically has created problems for fiduciaries needing access to such assets. The purpose of the act is to solve the problem of access, control, or copies to and of digital assets and accounts by Personal Representatives, Agents under power of attorney, Conservators and Trustees.
Digital assets include online bank accounts, online investment accounts, online gaming items, online photos and videos, online digital music, backups to the cloud, email accounts and the like. The value of these assets can easily exceed the value of personal assets that may be transferred without probate. That value is currently $75,000 (A.R.S. § 14-3971) in Arizona. Access to these assets can be quite difficult once a person is unable to handle his affairs or is deceased.
The main thrust of this law is that if a fiduciary would have access to and control of a tangible asset, that fiduciary should have access to and control of similar assets held as a digital asset.
Persons should incorporate in their estate plan’s language authorizing their Agents, Trustees and Personal Representatives authority and access to digital assets. If you have questions, please contact our qualified estate planning attorneys at Bivens and Associates, PLLC. Arizona’s Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act goes into effect in August 2016.