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Estate planning complicated by cryptocurrency, digital assets

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2018 | Estate Planning

The number of people in Florida who own digital assets is increasing rapidly, and so is the impact of such assets on estate planning. For people who own cryptocurrency or online contact lists, the question of whether and how to include these things in an estate plan can be difficult to answer. The most important step is to make sure the executor or other decision-maker has all the information necessary to properly distribute assets, be they digital or physical.

According to a probate lawyer who wrote a book on inheritance planning for cryptoassets, paper and pen may be valuable tools in digital estate planning. The lawyer said that it’s important to write down the locations of assets, passwords, PINs and the types of assets held. This information should be kept in a safe place where it can be easily found by the executor of the will on the death of the testator. The lawyer also said that it can be helpful to make at least two copies of the relevant records and keep them in separate locations.

Saving the information on a USB device may not be as secure as many think because USB devices can fail and may be formatted incorrectly for use by the executor. How often the information should be updated depends on how frequently a person’s digital holdings change. Another lawyer who has written about cryptocurrency and estate planning says that even infrequent traders should update their lists at least annually.

In a case where a person has digital assets and wants to plan for their distribution on his or her death, a lawyer may be able to help. A lawyer with experience in estate planning law might help identify potentially troublesome assets and draft language to ensure their transfer to heirs. A lawyer may create a simple will to handle the client’s distributions or suggest the use of trusts or other estate planning instruments.


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