In this digital era, if you die or become incapacitated, it is likely that an executive, fiduciary, personal representative or a family member will want access to your online banking accounts, investment portfolio, social media sites or email. If you have not entrusted someone with the accounts’ usernames and passwords, existing law makes it difficult to access them. State legislatures began to address this issue in 2013.
Twelve states introduced legislation this year proposing to grant expanded powers to an executor, personal representative or administrator of a person’s digital assets: Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon and Virginia. So far, seven states have passed laws governing digital asset management after death: Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia. Maine passed a law this session to study the issue over the interim.