Tennessee Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

Effective July 1st, 2016, the Tennessee General Assembly’s recent enactment of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the “Act”) grants various individuals the authority to access a decedent’s digital assets. The Act authorizes executors, trustees, powers of attorney, conservators, guardians, and certain other people access to most anything a decedent had online access to prior to their death.

Digital assets may include any variety of computer files, personal email, social media accounts, electronic healthcare records, and accounts with financial institutions and online vendors. Online messages and pictures may also be specified through a decedent’s estate planning documents to qualify under the Act. The new Act is also applicable to executors of estates as it authorizes certain fiduciaries to close online accounts and to take other steps to protect online personal information from fraud or misappropriation.

Due to the privacy concerns surrounding digital assets, most individuals will presumably limit access to one or more trusted representatives. For this reason alone, to protect ones privacy and financial well-being, Tennessee residents should review their existing estate planning documents to ensure they are in compliance with the new Act, and to ensure that the person granted authority to access your digital assets is the appropriate person.

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