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Digital assets and estate planning

Almost every New Jersey resident has some sort of digital asset. It's almost impossible to avoid having a social media account, online bank account, music library or other online accounts. There was a recent New Jersey law regarding digital assets that went into effect.

This past September, Governor Chris Christie signed into the law the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. This act allows New Jersey residents to manage their digital assets much as they do their financial assets. A digital asset is defined as an account, document, information or record that is accessed by an electronic device. These can include email accounts, social media accounts, video sharing accounts, online purchasing accounts, gambling accounts and digital media.

The act recognizes that a person has a property right in a digital asset and allows that person to make arrangements to manage those assets upon their death. A user can designate a third party to manage their digital assets by an estate planning document, an online tool or a TOSA. If the user has not designated anyone then the terms of the TOSA will control the access. This law recognizes how important technology and digital assets are to New Jersey residents and helps give guidance in protecting these assets for those left behind.

A New Jersey estate planning attorney can help their clients with their digital estate planning needs. They can help their clients formulate a plan in dealing with digital assets and make sure that they will be effectively managed in the event of death.

Source: njtv.com, "New legislation addresses inheritance of digital assets", Brian Vannozzi, Sept. 25, 2017

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