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Digital Assets Should Be Addressed During Estate Planning

Digital assets still exist even after the owner is incapacitated or dies, and should be a part of any estate plan. An owner of information or creative works stored on a computer or digital device should specifically designate someone to have access to those digital assets using either a power of attorney, will, or the custodian’s online tool. The Maryland Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which became effective October 1, 2016, ensures that, if a person grants to an agent under a power of attorney and/or to a personal representative under a will authorization to access the owned digital assets, the authorization must and will be respected by the custodian of those digital assets. If a designation made using an online tool conflicts with the provision in a power of attorney or will, the online designation will control.