Estate planning must now include intangible assets that didn’t exist just a few years ago, as well as those that have been around since people started owning private property. Today, says Forbes in the article “Estate Planning for Crypto And Other Digital Assets: What You Need to Know,” there are new kinds of property and new laws that govern them.
Some of the old rules still apply and you need a will. One of the things in that will, needs to be naming an executor who will be in charge of ensuring that your assets are distributed, according to the wishes you state in your will. When it comes to digital assets, things get a little tricky.
The hardest part of digital assets for many people, is how to give access to your digital property. The law has changed. If you own cryptocurrency, you’ll need to list your “crypto keys,” so your executor and heirs can know what is in your estate and be able to access it.
You may need to educate them, so they understand what the assets are, the location of the keys and access control that you use for security. You probably know access control as PINS, passphrases, multisignature or timeclock requirements.
The challenge is, if you die and no one has access to your cryptocurrency keys, your heirs may never be able to access them. They’ll need to know what exchanges you use (Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others) and a list of the digital wallets you own for each.
Most heirs want to sell the crypto property quickly, since the currency is volatile. No one wants to be criticized for losing substantive value in the estate, because they didn’t move quickly enough. They also don’t want to be brought to court, for failing to look out for the fiduciary interests of the estate.
You’ll need both the proper legal planning and technical planning.
Most states with laws about digital assets, have adopted a model that was written to include things that have not been invented yet.
Electronic signatures on wills, is another digital issue entering the estate planning arena. Most estate planning attorneys are not enthusiastic about this. However, the change is coming, says an attorney on the drafting committee of the Uniform Law Commission.
National College of Probate Judges President Tamara Curry says she expects that judges are going to have to get up to speed on crypto assets in the next three to five years, since courts will become inundated with estates that include crypto currency and other digital assets.
Resource: Forbes (Aug. 14, 2018) “Estate Planning for Crypto And Other Digital Assets: What You Need to Know”
I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.
The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!
Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.
Josh Nelson, and his staff, have been amazingly helpful to our family. The ins and outs of nursing homes, the rules and regulations that govern Medicare and Medicaid are daunting and the folks at Nelson Elder Care Law have been informative, responsive, and above all, empathetic. I cannot emphasize enough how their service has taken a weight off of our shoulders especially during a world pandemic that has targeted nursing homes across our country. I highly recommend retaining Josh and his firm!
I had a simple legal question to them that I needed answered and they very helpful in giving me the information I needed. I highly recommend them and will reach out to them if I need more advice or assistance. Thank you for taking your time to just answer a couple of questions I had!