Alberta’s Approach to Digital Assets

May 15, 2018 Nick Esterbauer Estate Planning, Executors and Trustees, Power of Attorney, Trustees Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Our firm has previously blogged and podcasted at length about digital assets and estate planning, and the issue of fiduciary access to digital assets during incapacity and after death.

While digital assets constitute “property” in the sense appearing within provincial legislation, the rights of fiduciaries in respect of these assets are less clear than those relating to tangible assets.  For example, in Ontario, the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992, and Estates Administration Act provide that attorneys or guardians of property and estate trustees, respectively, are authorized to manage the property of an incapable person or estate, but these pieces of legislation do not explicitly refer to digital assets.

As we have previously reported, although the Uniform Law Conference of Canada introduced the Uniform Access to Digital Assets by Fiduciaries Act in August 2016, the uniform legislation has yet to be adopted by the provinces of Canada.  However, recent legislative amendment in one of Ontario’s neighbours to the west has recently enhanced the ability of estate trustees to access and administer digital assets.

In Alberta, legislation has been updated to clarify that the authority of an estate trustee extends to digital assets.  Alberta’s Estate Administration Act makes specific reference to “online accounts” within the context of an estate trustee’s duty to identify estate assets and liabilities, providing clarification that digital assets are intended to be included within the scope of estate assets that a trustee is authorized to administer.

In other Canadian provinces, fiduciaries continue to face barriers in attempting to access digital assets.  Until the law is updated to reflect the prevalence of technology and value, whether financial or sentimental, of information stored electronically, it may be prudent for drafting solicitors whose clients possess such assets to include specific provisions within Powers of Attorney for Property and Wills to clarify the authority of fiduciaries to deal with digital assets.

Thank you for reading.

Nick Esterbauer

 

Other blog posts that may be of interest:

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR BLOG

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
 

CONNECT WITH US

CATEGORIES

ARCHIVES

TWITTER WIDGET