The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the “Uniform Act”), introduced in 2015 and adopted by New Jersey in 2017, addresses the management of digital assets on an account holder’s death or disability. The Uniform Act attempts to balance the practical need for a fiduciary’s access to digital assets against the privacy interests of the original account holder and federal privacy and computer hacking laws (e.g., the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. §§2701 et seq. and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. §1030). The Uniform Act also satisfies the need of service providers for a consistent and standardized framework that can be relied upon when responding to requests for disclosure. Since its introduction, 46 states have adopted or introduced some form of the Uniform Act.
New Jersey’s Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the “Act”) defines a digital asset as “an electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest,” such as email accounts, text messages, social media accounts, photo accounts, website domains, non-fungible tokens, and cryptocurrency. This list is non-exhaustive and continues to grow as technology advances the forms of digital assets. While the term does not include bank or brokerage accounts that provide online services, access to digital assets may be critical in managing such accounts if account records are only accessible through email.