Harrisburg – Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) said today that the state Senate has approved legislation that would allow Pennsylvanians to transfer digital assets and property in the same manner as tangible property.
Senate Bill 320 would align Pennsylvania’s estate laws with 21st century realties, providing people a mechanism to leave digital assets to trusted friends and family upon their passing.
“Transferring assets after the death of a loved one is difficult enough without having to deal with an outdated state law,” said DiSanto. “Digital assets and property now make up a significant part of our lives, and this legislation will ensure there is a process in place to transfer them the same way we do tangible property.”
The legislation would allow music, books, videos, photos and documents stored digitally to be transferred to beneficiaries once an individual dies. This would be done the same way tangible property is transferred: by providing instructions in a will, trust or power-of-attorney.
Currently, rules regarding the disposition of digital assets are dictated by the Terms-of-Service set by digital platforms. When an account holder dies or otherwise loses the ability to manage their own digital assets, family or an estate executor can often be stymied in their efforts to gain access to the online accounts of the deceased.
The bill is similar to ones passed in 46 states and would allow a fiduciary to access digital property from cloud storage companies by sending a certified document proving their authority to manage these electronic assets.
The legislation has the support of Amazon, Apple, Google, the Pennsylvania Bankers Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
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