The Fiduciaries Access to Digital Assets Act (2023) has received assent in the Yukon Legislative Assembly.
A fiduciary is a person who acts on behalf of another person and is bound both legally and ethically to act in that person’s best interests.
The Act clarifies fiduciaries’ access to the digital assets of deceased or incapable individuals, while respecting their privacy and final wishes.
The Fiduciaries Access to Digital Assets Act:
- facilitates fiduciaries’ access to digital assets in order for them to properly administer the property of the individuals on behalf of whom they are acting;
- clarifies the rights of fiduciaries to act by the document that empowers them and the duty of service providers to grant access to digital assets;
- adheres to the traditional approach of trusts and estates law, which respects the privacy and intentions of the individuals on behalf of whom fiduciaries act;
- clarifies when the terms of a service agreement may limit access to digital assets; and
- affirms that service providers who comply with this enactment to give fiduciaries access to digital assets will not be subject to liability.
This modernized legislation provides Yukoners with greater certainty and predictability that their fiduciaries can execute their wishes for digital assets.
Our government is adapting our legislation to reflect the world we live in by removing potential hurdles when dealing with a loved one’s estate. By modernizing this legislation, we are ensuring those doing the difficult work of managing their loved ones’ estates are supported with the tools they need when it comes to the management of digital assets.
Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee
Fiduciary types include:
- a personal representative for a deceased person;
- a guardian appointed for an individual;
- an attorney appointed for an individual who is the donor of the power of attorney;
- a trustee appointed to hold in trust a digital asset or other property of an individual; or
- the Public Guardian and Trustee, under specific circumstances.
Digital assets include any record of information stored on a digital platform. This can mean documents, e-mails, blogs, photos, audio and video files, e-books, as well as records of information concerning bank accounts.
Similar legislation is in place in other jurisdictions including New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island.
The legislation is based on the recommendations from the Uniform Law Conference of Canada and the Uniform Access to Digital Assets by Fiduciaries Act.