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Including Digital Currency in An Estate Plan

Butler Law Aug. 15, 2019

Estate planning is no longer just about wills and trusts. It continues to evolve with the newest way people live in Myrtle Beach and across the U.S. There are always new technologies and advances that require an estate plan to protect. Digital currency is something that didn’t exist ten years ago but has now ballooned into a legitimate asset.

Over the past few years, digital currency continues to expand and become more and more popular. Besides Bitcoin, others are joining in on the cryptocurrency and digital currency movement. More of our lives are moving online which is leading to more of our assets being located there. There is currently over $300 billion in cryptocurrency in the world.

An estate plan needs to take into consideration any online currency a person may have. If an owner dies without including these assets in their estate plan, these assets could be lost forever. Traditional estate planning methods would not be able to allow an executor to find all the digital currency. The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFDADAA) lists the digital access rights for fiduciaries over online accounts. If a beneficiary is designated in an online account, then that would take precedence over what a will or trust stipulates. Terms of service agreements in the online accounts also spell out who has control over the account in the event of a death. The RUFDADAA does not grant any new ownership of an online account.

Cryptocurrency can and should be included in a person’s estate plan. Most of these currencies use a private key to access the account. If this key is lost it can be impossible to access the assets. The personal key, login, passwords and two-step authentication should all be included in an estate plan and all digital assets should be tracked.