Transferring Digital Assets in Michigan
The governor of Michigan recently signed into law Public Law Act 59 of 2016 (“Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act”). According to a Michigan Senate summary of the Act, this new law will-
Allow a user to use an online tool to direct a digital custodian to disclose or not to disclose to a designated recipient some or all of the user’s digital assets, including the contents of electronic communications.
Allow a user who had not used an online tool for that purpose to allow or prohibit disclosure of digital assets to a fiduciary in a will, trust, power of attorney, or other record.
Specify requirements for a digital custodian’s disclosure of digital assets.
Prescribe procedures for disclosure of a user’s digital assets to a personal representative of the user’s estate, an agent with power of attorney, a trustee, or conservator.
Specify duties of a fiduciary or designated recipient with regard to managing a user’s digital assets.
Specify a digital custodian’s responsibilities in complying with the proposed Act
Authorize an interested person to file a petition to limit, eliminate, or modify a personal representative’s powers with respect to a decedent’s digital assets
It should be remembered that even though states like Michigan pass laws regulating the transfer of digital assets these state laws do not supersede the federal laws in this area like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.