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How to include cryptocurrency in an estate plan

Over the past year or so, the media has given an extraordinary amount of attention to cryptocurrency. Arguably, the most popular form of this currency is bitcoin, but there is also litecoin, ripple and ethereum. Numerous people have invested in this monetary alternative for its privacy and security. 

Since it is so private, it is possible for someone to pass away with a substantial amount of bitcoin only for his or her heirs to never access it. One recent trend in estate planning involves more people incorporating how to divide cryptocurrency assets upon death or incapacity. It is vital for adults to consider all their assets when creating or revising estate plans, including digital assets. 

Ensure executor of estate is aware of bitcoin assets

When creating an estate plan, you will need to assign someone to be the executor of your estate. That means informing this person of all assets, including private ones such as cryptocurrency. If the executor is unaware such funds exist, then your beneficiaries will never receive the money. 

Give executor power to access bitcoin accounts

When beneficiaries need to access a loved one's bank account, they can simply contact the institution to go through the proper procedures. Bitcoin is far more secretive. Without a private key, username and password, an executor cannot access the funds. 

Grant powers of attorney to people you want to have your bitcoin

For any estate plan, you want to give someone you trust powers of attorney over your medical and financial decisions. Part of that power should involve ensuring someone has access to your bitcoin account when you are unable to access it on your own. You may become incapacitated and unable to provide the necessary information to log into your account. This is why it is so important to maintain open lines of communication with your loved ones well in advance, so you can pass on what you want to those you care about. 

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