CYPTOCURRENCIES, DIGITAL ASSETS AND ESTATE PLANNING
Aug. 20, 2018
Digital assets, such are cryptocurrencies and online accounts, are one of the issues California residents have to consider when they are creating an estate plan. There are legal concerns that have to be addressed regarding financial accounts and other types of digital assets. It is always important for the executor of an estate to be aware of what type of assets the decedent left in the estate and how to gain access to them, which is a crucial step in ensuring that the heirs receive the digital assets as intended.
For individuals who need to conduct inheritance planning for their crypto assets, they should make sure that their executors and heirs are provided hard copies of documents that describe the type of assets involved, the location of the keys and the access controls, such as passphrases, PINs, timelock requirements and passphrases, that are being used for security. A probate attorney may be able to provide a form that individuals can complete and store in a safety deposit box or a secure location within the home so that heirs have a hassle-free way of getting to the document.
If there are no legal or tech preparations made for digital assets, the existence of the assets may not be known, and they may be abandoned. If the heirs are aware of the assets and there are no provisions in place regarding access to the assets or how they should be handled, conflict can arise among the heirs, resulting in lawsuits that could last for years.
An attorney who practices estate administration and probate law may assist clients with creating an estate plan that includes proper legal documents for digital assets. Assistance may be provided with determining how the assets can bypass the probate process.