Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets

Kary A. Moore
Assistant General Counsel, Senior Vice President
Federated Hermes

Nora Geig Chatha
Shareholder Co-chair,
Fiduciary Services & Risk Management Group Chair, Estates & Trusts Group Member
Tucker Arensberg

April 27, 2023

Recently, there has been a keen interest in understanding the fiduciary implications of accessing clients’ “digital assets.” Digital assets are permeating people’s lives and relationships, including relationships with their fiduciaries and service providers. Almost anyone who uses the internet or has a smartphone has digital assets, whether they realize it or not. Banks, trust companies, and financial professionals acting as fiduciaries on behalf of clients or dealing with the other fiduciaries appointed by their clients must understand the issues that arise when fiduciaries need access to the client’s digital assets. Clients need to understand and appreciate that their fiduciaries will need both information about their digital assets and the authority to use the information. One without the other is insufficient.