What do I do with my Cryptocurrency?

By AnnMichelle G. Hart, Esq.
November 12, 2021

Cryptocurrency is a relatively new phenomenon and as such, leaving cryptocurrency in a will is somewhat uncharted territory. 

Hi I’m Ann Hart HartLaw PLLC. I’m an Estate Planning attorney in Washington State. I’m not going to define Cripto here because if you have it you already know what it is, and if your thinking about it there are places to learn about it in more detail than I can do here today. 

But if you’re one of many people who’ve purchased Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance, you might be wondering how you should work it into your estate plan. Including any cryptocurrency you own into your estate plan, such as a Will or Trust, is the only surefire way to ensure your beneficiaries will have access. This holds true for any other type of digital asset as well.

Know that simply gifting them isn’t effective. You need to make sure that your beneficiaries know how to find AND access the cryptocurrency you left to them.

For example, the transfer of real estate merely requires some paperwork and making sure your beneficiary can get a copy of the key, right? It’s kind of the same for Crypto, but you need to figure out how to tell your beneficiary where to locate your Cryptocurrency and your private key, which are typically 64 characters in length, without giving up your security.

Know that you should never share your private key directly. This presents a risk if the key falls into the wrong hands, leaving your cryptocurrency exposed for the taking. Just as you would never share your personal email username and password, don’t share your private key.

Experts recommended you create a cryptocurrency access guide. This may require some creativity on your part, to come up with a way for your beneficiary to obtain the key. First, you’ll need to include information for locating your online digital wallet accounts and usernames. Second, you’ll need to include instructions on how to obtain the private key itself.

Some might choose to write down the key on a piece of paper and store it in a bank vault or safe-deposit box. Others might choose to use a service, such as a cryptocurrency bank or multi-signature wallet that allows loved ones to access an account in the case of a death.
Regardless of how you decide to go about it, write your access guide as if your beneficiary has no idea what cryptocurrency is, or that you even owned any of it. The more details and instructions you provide, the more helpful it will be to them one day.

If you need help planning to transfer your Cryptocurrency, call me, Ann Hart HartLaw PLLC.