We can readily envision George Jetson paying for his flying car with cryptocurrency. Whether George favors Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin or other cryptocurrencies, digital money transferred over the internet still strikes some as futuristic. The reality is that cryptocurrencies are now well-entrenched in our economic system both as internet money and as investment vehicles even with recent questions about the longer-term viability of cryptocurrency.
But, be careful! Cryptocurrencies are by and large unregulated. While that dynamic may be part of the attraction to users, it also means that laws and regulations have yet to catch up with cryptocurrencies. Without such oversight, risk follows in areas such as estate planning for cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency is still considered property rather than a currency. Yet, it cannot be treated as just another asset in your estate plan. For example, if you leave Bitcoins to your children, they cannot access them absent reaching your digital wallets with the associated 64-digit private keys. There is nowhere to turn to “reset passwords” or create new logon accounts. If you die without properly providing this information to others, the Bitcoins would quite literally be lost just as if you lost a jacket or pair of eyeglasses. The Bitcoins carry slightly more value.
One part of the cure is to use your estate plan to provide for disclosure of cryptocurrency assets and provide a secure manner to transfer the private keys and necessary data to trustees and beneficiaries. The information can be part of the estate plan or provide clear guidance as to how to access the information. This information must be kept up to date as well. We can build in solutions to meet your practices and needs.
If you want to join the George Jetson crowd, you need to incorporate passing on this special asset in your estate plan. Contact Michael Geiger at Geiger Law for assistance with cryptocurrencies and all your estate planning needs.