This paper describes the development of the principles of fiduciary access to digital assets in the United States. It focuses on US legislation before the drafting of the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) in 2015, examining the legal and social issues faced by American lawyers in their search for a balance between facilitating fiduciary access and respecting privacy. Special attention is paid to the first legislative initiatives at the state level as well as to two model regulations that represent opposite approaches to access to digital assets: the Privacy Expectation Afterlife and Choices Act (PEAC) and the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA). The analysis considers the requirements for gaining access to the account of a deceased user, conflicts between legally protected interests and conflicting federal and state laws, and the meaning of such legal terms as digital assets, fiduciary, custodian, content of an electronic communication, et. al. The reasons for the failure of these acts to receive final approval are also analysed. Research is based on American doctrine, state and federal legal acts, documentation of the legislative process, and the work of expert groups, including, primarily, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC).