The bill sets forth the conditions under which a custodian must disclose the
content of electronic communications to each type of fiduciary. For example, a
custodian must disclose content of electronic communications to a personal
representative of a deceased user if the personal representative gives the custodian
a written request, specific documentation establishing the personal representative's
authority and, upon the custodian's request, a court order that finds that 1) the user
had an identifiable specific account with the digital custodian, 2) disclosure of the
content of the electronic communications of the user would not violate the ECPA or
other applicable law, 3) unless the user provided direction using an online tool, the
user consented to disclosure of the contents of electronic communications, and 4)
disclosure of the contents of electronic communications is necessary for the
administration of the user's estate.
Under the bill, a custodian must disclose content of electronic communication
to a trustee, agent under a power of attorney, guardian, or a conservator if the
trustee, agent, guardian, or conservator gives the guardian a written request,
specific documentation establishing the fiduciary's authority, and, upon the
custodian's request, specific information to identify the user's account. However, the
bill does not limit a custodian's ability to obtain or require a court order that specifies,
among other things, that there is sufficient consent from the user to support the
Access to digital assets other than content of electronic communications
The bill also sets forth the conditions under which a custodian must disclose
digitals assets other than content of electronic communications, including a
catalogue of electronic communications, to each type of fiduciary. A custodian must
disclose digital assets other than content of electronic communications to a personal
representative if the personal representative gives the custodian a written request,
specific documentation establishing the personal representative's authority, and, if
requested by the custodian, 1) certain information to identify the user's account, 2)
an affidavit from the personal representative that the disclosure is reasonably
necessary for the administration of the estate, or 3) a court order to identify the user's
account and that the disclosure is reasonably necessary for the administration of the
estate. Under the bill, a custodian must disclose digital assets other than content of
electronic communications to a trustee, agent under a power of attorney, guardian,
or conservator if the trustee, agent, guardian, or conservator gives the guardian a
written request, specific documentation establishing the fiduciary's authority, and,
upon the custodian's request, specific information to identify the user's account.
Disclosure of digital assets
Under the bill, a custodian may comply with a request to disclose digital assets
made by a fiduciary or a designated recipient by doing any of the following:
1. Providing full access to the user's account.
2. Providing partial access to the account that is sufficient to perform the tasks
with which the requester is charged.
3. Providing a copy of any digital assets that the user could have accessed on
the date the request was made.
The bill does not require a custodian to disclose a digital asset that has been
deleted by a user. Additionally, if a request is made for some, but not all, of a user's
digital assets and the custodian determines that segregating the requested digital
assets imposes an undue burden on the custodian, the custodian is not required to
comply with the request. If a custodian refuses to comply with a request because
segregation of the digital assets imposes an undue burden, the custodian or the
requester may seek a court order for the custodian to disclose any of the following:
1. A subset of the digital assets, limited by date.
2. All of the digital assets to the requester.
3. None of the digital assets.
4. All of the digital assets to the court for review.
The bill allows a custodian to charge a reasonable administrative charge for
disclosing digital assets.
Fiduciary duties and powers
Under the bill, all fiduciary duties that apply to tangible personal property
apply to digital assets, including the duty of care, the duty of loyalty, and the duty
of confidentiality. The bill also affirms that a fiduciary acting within the scope of the
fiduciary's duties is an authorized user for purposes of any unauthorized computer
Under the bill, a fiduciary with authority over tangible personal property of a
decedent, protected person, principal, or settlor has the right to access the property
and any digital asset stored in the tangible personal property and is an authorized
user for purposes of any unauthorized computer access law. The bill also allows a
fiduciary to request a custodian to terminate a user's account and describes the
documentation that must accompany such a request.
Custodian compliance and immunity
Under the bill, a custodian must comply with a request from a fiduciary or a
designated recipient to disclose a digital asset no later than 60 days after receiving
the request. If the custodian does not comply with the request, the requester may
seek a court order for compliance. The bill provides that a custodian is immune from
liability for acts or omission made in good faith to comply with requirements created
in this bill.
This bill applies to a digital custodian only if the user resides in this state or
resided in this state at the time of the user's death. Additionally, the bill does not
apply to a digital asset of an employer used by an employee.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
54.20 (2) (m) of the statutes is created to read:
(m) Access the ward's digital assets in accordance with s. 112.12.
112.12 of the statutes is created to read:
4112.12 Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. (1) Short title. 5
This section may be cited as the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets 6
. In this section:
(a) "Account" means an arrangement under a terms of service agreement in 2
which a custodian carries, maintains, processes, receives, or stores a digital asset of 3
the user or provides goods or services to the user.
(b) "Agent" means a person granted authority to act for a principal under a 5
durable or nondurable power of attorney, whether denominated an agent, 6
attorney-in-fact, or otherwise.
(c) "Carries" means engages in the transmission of an electronic 8
(d) "Catalogue of electronic communications" means information that 10
identifies each person with which a user has had an electronic communication, the 11
time and date of the communication, and the electronic address of the person.
(e) "Conservator" means a person appointed under s. 54.76 to manage the 13
estate of a living individual.
(f) "Content of an electronic communication" means information concerning the 15
substance or meaning of a communication that satisfies all of the following:
1. The information was sent or received by a user.
2. The information is electronically stored by a custodian that provides an 18
electronic communication service to the public or is carried or maintained by a 19
custodian that provides a remote computing service to the public.
3. The information is not readily accessible to the public.
(g) "Court" means the circuit court or judge assigned to exercise probate 22
(h) "Custodian" means a person that carries, maintains, processes, receives, or 24
stores a digital asset of a user.
(i) "Designated recipient" means a person chosen by the user using an online 2
tool to administer the user's digital assets.
(j) "Digital asset" means an electronic record in which an individual has a right 4
or interest. A "digital asset" does not include an underlying asset or liability unless 5
the asset or liability is itself an electronic record.
(k) "Electronic" means relating to technology having electrical, digital, 7
magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.
(L) "Electronic communication" has the meaning given in 18 USC 2510
(m) "Electronic communication service" means a custodian that provides to a 10
user the ability to send or receive an electronic communication.
(n) "Fiduciary" means an original, additional, or successor personal 12
representative, conservator, guardian, agent, or trustee.
(o) "Guardian" means a person appointed under s. 54.10.
(p) "Information" means data, text, images, videos, sounds, codes, computer 15
programs, software, databases, or the like.
(q) "Online tool" means an electronic service provided by a custodian under an 17
agreement between the custodian and user that is distinct from the terms of service 18
agreement that allows the user to provide directions for disclosure or nondisclosure 19
of the user's digital assets to a 3rd person.
(r) "Person" means an individual, estate, business or nonprofit entity, public 21
corporation, government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or 22
other legal entity.
(s) "Personal representative" has the meaning given in s. 851.23, but also 24
includes a special administrator.
(t) "Power of attorney" means a record that grants an agent authority to act in 2
the place of a principal.
(u) "Principal" means an individual who grants authority to an agent in a power 4
(v) "Protected person" means any of the following:
1. An individual for whom a guardian is appointed or for whom an application 7
for the appointment of a guardian is pending.
2. An individual for whom a conservator is appointed or for whom an 9
application for the appointment of a conservator is pending.
(w) "Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that 11
is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
(x) "Remote computing service" means a custodian that provides to a user 13
computer processing services or the storage of digital assets by means of an electronic 14
communications system, as defined in 18 USC 2510
(y) "Terms of service agreement" means an agreement that controls the 16
relationship between a user and a custodian.
(z) "Trustee" means a person with legal title to an asset under an agreement 18
or declaration that creates a beneficial interest in another.
(zd) "User" means a person that has an account with a custodian.
(zk) "Will" includes a codicil and any document incorporated by reference in a 21
testamentary document under s. 853.32 (1) or (2).
22(3) Direction for disclosure of digital assets.
(a) A user may allow or 23
prohibit disclosure to a fiduciary of some or all of the user's digital assets, including 24
the content of electronic communications sent or received by the user, in a will, trust,
power of attorney, or in any other type of inter vivos governing instrument, as defined 2
in s. 700.27 (1) (c), or governing instrument, as defined in s. 854.01 (2).
(b) If a user does not allow or prohibit disclosure to a fiduciary of some or all 4
of the user's digital assets under par. (a), the user may use an online tool to direct the 5
custodian to disclose or not to disclose some or all of the user's digital assets, 6
including the content of electronic communications. A contrary direction made by a 7
user under par. (a) overrides a direction regarding disclosure made using an online 8
(c) A user's direction under par. (a) or (b) takes precedence over a contrary 10
provision in a terms of service agreement that does not require the user to act 11
affirmatively and distinctly from the user's assent to the terms of service.
12(4) Terms of service agreement.
(a) This section does not change or impair 13
the rights of a custodian or a user under a terms of service agreement to access and 14
use digital assets of the user.
(b) This section does not give a fiduciary rights other than the rights held by 16
the user for whom, or for whose estate, the fiduciary acts or represents.
(c) A fiduciary's access to digital assets may be modified or eliminated by any 18
of the following:
1. The user.
2. Federal law.
3. A terms of service agreement if the user has not provided direction under sub. 22
23(5) Procedure for disclosing digital assets.
(a) When disclosing digital 24
assets of a user under this section, the custodian may in its sole discretion provide 25
a fiduciary or designated recipient with any of the following:
1. Full access to the user's account.
2. Partial access to the user's account that is sufficient to perform the tasks with 3
which the fiduciary or designated recipient is charged.
3. A copy in a record of any digital asset that the user could have accessed if the 5
user were alive, had full capacity, and had full access to the account on the date the 6
custodian received the request for disclosure.
(b) A custodian may assess a reasonable administrative charge to a fiduciary 8
or designated recipient for the cost of disclosing digital assets under this section.
(c) A custodian need not disclose under this section a digital asset deleted by 10
(d) If a user directs or a fiduciary requests a custodian to disclose under this 12
section some, but not all, of the user's digital assets, the custodian need not disclose 13
the digital assets if segregation of the digital assets would impose an undue burden 14
on the custodian. If the custodian refuses to disclose digital assets because the 15
custodian believes the segregation of the digital assets imposes an undue burden, the 16
custodian or fiduciary may seek an order from the court to disclose any of the 17
1. To the fiduciary or designated recipient, a subset of the user's digital assets 19
that is limited by date.
2. To the fiduciary or designated recipient, all of the user's digital assets.
3. None of the user's digital assets.
4. To the court for review in camera, all of the user's digital assets.
23(6) Disclosure of content of electronic communications; deceased user.
a deceased user consented or a court directs disclosure of the contents of electronic 25
communications of a deceased user, the custodian shall disclose to the personal
representative of the user's estate the content of an electronic communication sent 2
or received by the user if the personal representative gives the custodian all of the 3
(a) A written request for disclosure in physical or electronic form.
(b) A certified copy of the death certificate of the user.
(c) A certified copy of the letters to administer the user's estate or, if the 7
personal representative is a special administrator, a certified copy of the letters of 8
(d) Unless the user provided direction using an online tool, a copy of the will, 10
trust, power of attorney, or other record evidencing the user's consent to disclosure 11
of the content of electronic communications.
(e) If requested by the custodian, any of the following:
1. A number, username, address, or other unique subscriber or account 14
identifier assigned by the custodian to identify the user's account.