Upcoming Legislation: Estate Planning for your Digital Assets

Governor Wolf is expected to receive SB 320 on his desk for signature any day now. This bill would allow people to direct the management and disposition of their digital assets as a part of their estate plan. Digital assets include 1) electronic communications, such as emails, social networking sites and blogs 2) online rewards programs such as credit card point or airline miles, 3) financial accounts such as PayPal, Venmo or online banking accounts, 4) digital collections of files, photos and videos 5) business accounts, such as customer databases including personal and confidential information and 6) cryptocurrencies. While many may think that their online bank account is a part of their estate that will naturally be dispersed according to their will or the laws of intestacy, currently many of these assets are governed by the terms of service agreement provided by a private company. Often times these terms of service agreements which many users don’t fully read limit a third party’s ability to access this information.

This legislation is designed to work in conjunction with existing Pennsylvania laws on probate, guardianship, trusts and powers of attorney. This law is expected to have bipartisan support and help the law meet the rapidly increasing role that technology has in our daily lives.