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Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency used as both a medium of exchange and an investment. It is also considered personal property that is subject to probate. A person's crypto assets can be a substantial portion of the value their estate. It has the same types of access and distribution issues as more traditional digital assets. Cryptocurrency is held in a “digital wallet” secured by an extensive password. If your family is not aware that you own cryptocurrency and how to access it, its value will be lost upon your incapacity or death.

You need to take five key steps to incorporate your crypto assets into your estate plan to avoid them being lost when you pass away:

01

Provide your heirs or personal representative/successor trustee with access to information about your digital wallet or wallets.

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02

Develop a plan to keep the information about accessing your cryptocurrency confidential.

03

Draft a detailed memorandum containing your passwords, private keys and PINs.

04

List a specific beneficiary for your cryptocurrency in your will or trust.

05

Draft a step-by-step guide that explains how to access your cryptocurrency.

If you leave your cryptocurrency through your will (or you make no plan at all), your cryptocurrency will go through probate, and your beneficiaries won't have access to your cryptocurrency until the probate process is complete — weeks or months after your death.

If you use a trust instead, your successor trustee immediately will have the right to access and distribute your cryptocurrency following the terms of your trust. Keeping your cryptocurrency out of probate will likely save your beneficiaries time and money because they will get access to your coins faster and with fewer court costs.

Another key benefit of utilizing a trust to pass on your crypto assets is that you can maintain a heightened level of privacy for you and your loved ones. If you opt to use a will to pass on your assets, it means you have to go through the public probate process. Probate presents a level of risk and public scrutiny because your will is filed with a court and can become part of the public record. As a result, if you leave your crypto assets through a will, information about your crypto assets is at risk of being viewed by the general public.

Graphic of our Cryptocurrency and Estate Planning booklet
To learn more about including cryptocurrency in your estate plan, request your copy of "Cryptocurrency and Estate Planning" today.