PA Senate passes digital assets bill

Posted 10/30/19

HARRISBURG, PA — On October 28, the PA Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 320, authored by Sen. Tom Killion, to allow Pennsylvanians to dispose of digital assets in the same manner as …

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PA Senate passes digital assets bill

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HARRISBURG, PA — On October 28, the PA Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 320, authored by Sen. Tom Killion, to allow Pennsylvanians to dispose of digital assets in the same manner as tangible property.

Killion’s bill would allow music, books, videos, photos and documents stored by tech giants such as Apple and Google 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.
Called the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Killion’s bill is similar to ones passed in 46 states according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Senate Bill 320 strikes the right balance between protecting the privacy of a decedent’s digital communications while also allowing their personal representative to access a catalogue of their digital assets that might be subject to probate,” said Duncan Campbell, CEO of PA Bankers Association.

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