Inside the World of Cryptocurrency Inheritance

Will someone's crypto investments die with them?

Welcome to the world of posthumous cryptocurrency.
Dmitry Demidko/Unsplash

When someone dies and leaves behind money, investments or property, there’s generally a time-honored and accepted way to manage what remains of their estate. But the rise in cryptocurrency in recent years has offered new challenges to both crypto investors and their families. To put it slightly differently, even cryptocurrency owners themselves have been locked out of their holdings when they’ve forgotten passwords. What happens when someone’s heirs are left in that situation, but at even more of a remove?

A new article by Zachary Crockett at The Hustle looks at the different ways in which people are preparing for their cryptocurrency to live on after they’re gone. Crockett points out that, in some ways, crypto is like any other asset: it can be left to someone else in a will, or it can be handled in probate. But unlike a bank account, there is no centralized body regulating cryptocurrency. And if someone’s heirs don’t have their private key, they’re going to find themselves without much of a chance of accessing that crypto.

For some, then, the process of securing their crypto can mean sharing details about accessing it with loved ones. Others have made use of password-sharing services or the inheritance mechanisms built in to platforms like Coinbase. The article offers a host of tips on best practices, as well as some tax tips that might be useful.

Still, this is likely to remain an issue going forwards. Of the crypto investors polled for the article who had a will, 78% did not have anything in there about their cryptocurrency.

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