FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2017
Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by Representative Matt Claman (D-Anchorage) to update Alaska probate laws to improve fiduciary access to digital assets.
“Around ten percent of Alaska’s population are aged 65 or older and many of our seniors and elders are increasingly computer savvy,” said Rep. Claman. “That means that it is more important than ever to update Alaska’s laws regulating fiduciary access to digital assets.”
House Bill 108 allows users to plan ahead for the management of their digital assets, including computer files, financial records, digital photographs, social media accounts, and other electronic communications in the same way they can make plans for their more tangible personal property. Under current Alaska law, fiduciaries in estate and conservator matters are limited in their abilities to manage digital assets. They are often prevented from accessing those accounts by password protection measures or restrictive terms of service. HB 108 is an overlay statute that is designed to work in conjunction with Alaska’s current laws on probate, guardianship, trusts, and powers of attorney.
The bill matches legislation recommended by the Uniform Law Commission that has been introduced in 41 other states. Currently 24 states have adopted updated fiduciary access laws that provide for access to digital assets.
“Bringing Alaska’s probate laws up-to-date is increasingly necessary as digital assets travel across state lines and uniform laws guarantee that fiduciaries in every state will have equal access to those assets,” said Rep. Claman. “The bill also establishes a uniform standard so that the custodians of the assets, such as Google or Facebook, will have a single legal standard with which to comply.”
HB 108 passed the Alaska House of Representatives today by a vote of 38-0. The bill will now be sent to the Alaska Senate for consideration.
For more information, contact Sara Perman in Rep. Claman’s office at (907) 465-4919.