As more people are dipping their toes in to the secretive, and notoriously volatile, cryptocurrency markets, such as bitcoin, estate planning attorneys are starting to think about how to include those potentially valuable assets in their clients estate plans.
According to this Barron’s article, the secretive nature of cryptocurrency, as well as its digital format, means virtual currency investors with large holdings should record their account details— preferably on paper—or risk losing everything for their heirs should something unexpected happen.
“People need to document that they own it, where they bought it, and how someone can get access to it,” says Kevin Ruth, head of wealth planning and personal trust at Fidelity Investments’ Private Wealth Management.
For bitcoin and other virtual currencies, this means including how to access your encrypted “private key.” If you hold bitcoin on an exchange, the exchange might provide the private key to a fiduciary, but having the key will simplify the process. If you hold the currency in a private account and haven’t shared how to access it, it’s likely gone forever.
If you own bitcoin or another cryptocurrency and want to ensure it passes to your beneficiaries, talk to an experienced estate planning attorney about including it in your estate plan.
Nielsen Law PLLC provides family focused estate planning to individuals and families in Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and the Central Texas area. For more information and to learn about our firm, please contact us.
Source: Abby Schultz, Bitcoin Should be Part of Estate Planning, Too., Barron’s, February 1, 2018.