Saturday, March 10, 2018

Do you have digital assets in your Texas estate?

The Texas Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act was added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 400 (S.B. 1193), Sec. 1, effective September 1, 2017.

Digital assets are electronic records in which someone has a personal interest or right. They include electronic communications and records such as emails, text messages, online photographs, documents stored in a cloud, electronic bank statements, and other electronic communications or records. The advent of certain technologies has created challenges, particularly to a person who is tasked with managing the digital assets of someone who has either lost capacity or died.

The purpose of the Texas Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act is twofold. 

Fiduciaries Have Legal Authority
First, it provides fiduciaries the legal authority to manage digital assets and electronic communications in the same manner that they manage tangible assets and accounts. Further this act specifies when a fiduciary may access the content of digital assets and electronic communications, and when only a catalog of the property is permitted to be accessed. 

Custodians Are Granted Immunity from Liability for acts or omissions in Good Faith
Second, it provides custodians of digital assets and electronic communications the legal authority they need to interact with the fiduciaries of their users while honoring the user's privacy expectations for his or her personal communications. A custodian is granted immunity from liability for acts or omissions done in good faith compliance with the provisions of this bill.

The full text of this statute is located here.

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