Q. What are digital assets?
When someone dies, how am I obtain digital assets such as e-mails and social media?
New York Law defines a digital asset as “an electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest … ‘Electronic’ means relating to technology having electrical, digital magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnet, or similar capabilities.” EPTL § 13-1-A-1 (i), (j).
After a person dies, the person with the responsibility to gather assets may want to collect material such as pictures in social media accounts, e-mails, etc. Most social media providers post procedures on how to close accounts of deceased persons and to gather data from deceased persons’ accounts on their support pages.
Estates Powers and Trusts law, Art 13-A Administration of Digital Assets was passed in 2016 to establish a procedure for disclosure digital assets that complied with federal law. Because this law is so new, there is little guidance. Researchers should check the online resources recommended in the handout.