Governor Walker Signs Legislation Improving Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets in Alaska
HB 108 Updates Alaska’s Probate Laws to Create a Uniform Standard of Access
Anchorage – Today, Alaska Governor Bill Walker signed legislation to update Alaska’s probate laws to improve fiduciary access to digital assets. House Bill 108 was introduced byRepresentative Matt Claman (D-Anchorage). The Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 16, was introduced by Senator Shelley Hughes (R-Wasilla). HB 108 passed both the Alaska House of Representatives and Alaska Senate with strong bipartisan support in April.
HB 108 allows Alaskans to plan ahead for the posthumous management of their digital assets in the same way they can make plans for more tangible personal property. These digital assets include computer files, financial records, digital photographs, social media accounts, and other electronic communications. Under previous Alaska law, fiduciaries in estate and conservator matters were limited in their abilities to manage digital assets. They were often prevented from accessing those accounts by password protection measures or restrictive terms of service. HB 108 works in conjunction with Alaska’s current laws on probate, guardianship, trusts, and powers of attorney.
“Bringing Alaska’s probate laws up-to-date is necessary as digital assets travel across state lines. Uniform laws assure 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.”
House Bill 108 was signed today by Governor Walker. It takes effect immediately.