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Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Tuesday, April 3, 2018  
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Estate Planning for Digital Assets: Understanding the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act and Its Implications for Planners and Clients

by I. Richard Ploss, J.D., CPA, CFP®, TEP

Perhaps one of the most significant non-tax developments in estate planning over the past few years has been the promulgation of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Revised (2015), or “RUFADAA,” sometimes also referred to as “the Act” by the Uniform Law Commission and the subsequent adoption of the law by 38 U.S. jurisdictions.

The RUFADAA is remarkable in that for the first time, property law recognizes the existence of digital property as a property right that can be managed, conserved and, in certain instances, accessed by third parties, in much the same manner in as other rights in real and tangible personal property.

The formal recognition of this property right imposes an obligation on financial planners to consider digital assets as an integral part of clients’ estate and financial plans. It should be noted at the outset that the RUFADAA does not confer property ownership rights on fiduciaries or on individuals who have access to such assets.

This article will endeavor to introduce (or reintroduce) financial planners to digital assets and to educate them as to how to advise clients in light of the rules contained in the RUFADAA. With this objective in mind, the first part of this article will introduce planners to the RUFADAA and some of the key provisions that provide a framework for advising clients with regard to digital assets. The second part of this article will focus on the some of the strategies that planners may wish to utilize as part of a client’s estate plan.

Click here to read more in the Journal of Financial Planning. You need to be a FPA Member to access this article.

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