New Nebraska Law for Accessing Digital Assets of Deceased

On April 13, Nebraska passed legislation for handling digital assets for those that die or become unable to manage their own assets. LB 829 authorizes four types of individuals to manage the digital assets, similar to how they would manage tangible property, for the deceased or incapacitated. This law follows the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, as finalized by the Uniform Law Commission in 2015.

Prior to this law, managing the digital accounts of the deceased was difficult and time consuming, especially in situations where the fiduciary does not have the passwords for the deceased. This new law works in conjunction with Nebraska probate, guardianship, trust, and powers of attorney laws. For executors or administrators of deceased individual estates, court-appointed guardians or conservators, agents appointed by a power of attorney, or a trustee, they will now have a legal basis for accessing digital assets.

When a fiduciary is in a situation needing to access the deceased digital assets, the law creates a tiered system for access. Generally, if the digital asset has an online portal maintained by a third party that allows the user to grant access to another, those rules take priority. However, failure to use such an option or if no tool exists, the new statutory power granted to the fiduciary will apply.

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Can I Appoint the Same Person as Executor (Personal Representative), Trustee and Guardian?

A Video FAQ with Mary E. Vandenack.

Naming the fiduciaries in your estate plan, which include the trustee(s), personal representative and the guardian of your children, are really important decisions. If you have minor children and you are naming individuals, you may want to consider naming different people. Your sister or brother may be a great person right now; you pass away and they are responsible for caring for your child as guardian. They also have complete access to the money. You have to feel you have total confidence in having the same person control your child’s well-being, as well as their money. So, no matter how much you trust that person, you should give some consideration to separating those functions simply to have a double-check in place for your children.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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