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Post on April 7th, 2017

Am. Sub. H.B. 432, as adopted by the 131st Ohio General Assembly, takes effect on April 6, 2017.  This legislation enacts the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADA), Ch 2137 Ohio Revised Code, to provide for continued access or control over digital assets when the owner of those assets dies or becomes incapacitated.  The legislation tracks the RUFADA model act adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

The Act defines a“digital asset” as an electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest. “Digital assets” may include email accounts, websites or social media accounts such as Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram.

The act provides user direction for disclosure of digital assets, the framework for disclosure of digital assets and creates an order of priority if the owner of digital assets provided conflicting directions or no directions regarding the digital assets.    

The legislation also enacts changes to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act regarding digital assets in 1337.571 of the Ohio Revised Code and to the Statutory Forms in 1337.60 ORC. 

Adoption of the Ohio Access to Digital Assets Act is an important development for attorneys drafting estate planning documents.  It is a good idea to review this with clients to assist them in making appropriate plans or revisions to existing documents. 

This legislation also enacts several other important changes to the law governing decedents’ estates Ohio:

o   Person deemed to have predeceased another person
o   Person deemed to have predeceased specified event
o   Co-owners with right of survivorship
o   Determination and evidence of death
o   See also 2105.14 ORC revised effective March 14, 2017

Click here to read the Final Analysis of the bill by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.   

Click here to access the entire Malpractice Alert Jan-Mar 2017