Portland is widely recognized as one of the most innovative cities in the US, and a new law reflects Oregon's tech culture. With the signature of Governor Kate Brown, Oregon has enacted Senate Bill 1554, which grants legal access to digital assets to a person named in an estate plan as a designated fiduciary. This was reported in "Governor signs new law which protects digital assets" from kitv.com.
In order to gain this access, an individual must affirmatively state in his or her estate planning documents that they want a fiduciary to have online access. If not, it defaults to the terms of service agreements, which have been the source of great distress to many individuals and families.
A mother who lost her son 10 years ago after a motorcycle accident wanted to access his Facebook account as a tribute to him.
"I wanted to keep it up and running for at least a year," Karen Williams said. "So [friends and family] can come back to it and it could be there for the first year anniversary."
Williams said Facebook would not permit her to keep her son's page. Even worse, the company deleted the page. She said the problem was that there wasn't anyone to oversee it and—at that point in time—there were no options to allow someone to access an account or delete it.
It will be interesting to see if this new law encourages people who might otherwise procrastinate in preparing a will to become more proactive about their estate planning. To enjoy the benefits of the new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2017, the designation must be in a Power of Attorney agreement or in estate planning documents.
For additional information on estate planning and digital asset management in Houston, please click here to visit my website.
Reference: kitv.com (March 8, 2016) "Governor signs new law which protects digital assets"