Here's What Happens To Your Crypto When You Die

Here’s What Happens To Your Crypto When You Die

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One of the most attractive aspects of your crypto wallet is that no one can enter it. In the event of death, however, this advantage becomes a major problem. To die without clear instructions on what will happen to your cryptocurrency – or how your heirs can even access it – is tantamount to letting it go. Standard methods of transmitting your assets are complicated by the privacy factors built into digital currencies. Here’s what to know about what happens to your crypto assets when you die and what you can do to plan ahead while you’re alive.

What makes the transmission of digital currencies so complicated

Crypto poses a unique challenge to estate planning, largely because of the security of digital currencies: crypto is stored in a virtual wallet that can only be accessed with a private key (essentially a super password). complex). This remains true even after you die.

Your crypto will not be treated as cash in your bank account. Instead, it’s treated as a probate asset (meaning it must go through the legal and judicial process of distributing your estate). Unlike other assets you might leave in your estate, crypto only exists in virtual form and is encrypted. When you die, there is no centralized authority (like a bank) to help your heirs access your account. The only way to access your wallet is to own your private key.

Yesour instinct might be to just save your private encryption key for your loved ones directly in your will, but that means compromising the benefits of encryption. After you die and your will goes through probatethis becomes a public document, so leaving your key in your will is a major risk—includingour beneficiary should make sure to remove the assets from the wallet before your key becomes public. Oonce you’re gone, it’s hard to guarantee.

There’s also a risk when it comes to the old-school method of writing your encryption key down on a physical piece of paper; a bad actor could find it and get into your wallet while you’re alive too. As time sayscrypto estate planning requires knocking a, “Delicate balance between security and accessibility.

The features that keep digital currencies so secure during your lifetime are exactly what makes them inaccessible to your loved ones after you die. So where does this take you?

Steps to Transmit Your Crypto Assets

While traditional estate planning presents some challenges, there are steps you can take now to prepare your loved ones for access to your crypto wallet after you die.

1. Name a beneficiary for your crypto assets in your estate plan. As with any other physical asset, you have to tell who gets what, where they can find it, and how they can access it.

2. Carefully document where your crypto is stored. Whether your assets are stored in a custodial account on a crypto exchange or can be found offline in a cold wallet, your beneficiaries need to know where to find your assets.

Here are some best practices according to Kiplinger:

  • Document the location of the wallet itself (ideally stored in a safe or fireproof safe).
  • Document your private and public keys for each wallet you own. Both are needed to access your crypto. Keep both keys in safe but separate places.
  • Document any other information that may be required to access your wallet, such as a PIN or recovery phrase.

3. Decide where to document this information. Certainly, we have pointed out the risks of saving your private keys in your document or on a piece of paper. But if there should be all hope of your loved ones accessing your digital assets, you will have to accept some measure of risk. You may consider incorporating all of this information into your estate plan and entrusting it to an attorney, as well as keeping copies of documents in a physical safe.

The bottom line

The crypto landscape is ever-changing, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that your heirs can access your crypto after you’re gone. The alternative is that your assets essentially die with you. If you hope to leave digital currencies to your loved ones, you should create clear instructions to ensure they are not locked out of your wallet for eternity..

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