What Happens to Your Cryptocurrency After You Die?
“Passing your digital holdings on to loved ones after your death isn’t as simple as bequeathing cash or other property, though, particularly since wills aren’t designed for confidential information. Because a private key is all that’s necessary to transfer funds from a wallet, including it in your will might be a terrible idea. ‘I would strongly advise against anyone putting any information they consider private into their will,’ says estate planning attorney Gordon Fischer. ‘Wills, after your death, become court documents and are generally public documents, accessible by anyone.’ With conventional assets, there’s an established procedure for claiming them through probate court, but with cryptocurrencies the process is less certain. Complicating matters is that many cryptocurrency exchanges don’t let their customers name beneficiaries. Coinbase, the largest trading platform, puts the burden on the heirs to claim any assets left by the deceased (so, hopefully your family knows which exchange you use). It’s still a mystery how many bitcoins have been lost due to people passing away without a plan in place for their cryptocurrency. Overall, industry experts say that between 2.3 million and 3.7 million bitcoins have been lost for a variety of reasons—at current prices, that’s worth between $15 billion to $24 billion.”