Online assets are becoming more common as technology advances.What happens to cryptocurrency, like bitcoin and ethereum, after the account holder dies? In Massachusetts and elsewhere these currencies can be included in wills, but what other steps might be necessary for heirs to redeem them?
Every year billions of dollars in cryptocurrency are lost. It was recently estimated that around 20 percent of bitcoin goes unclaimed after the original owner’s death. Providing detailed information about the account can help both the beneficiaries and the executor of the estate locate the assets. This includes providing usernames and passwords to these accounts, and the amount of currency contained in each one.
While providing this information is an important part of leaving cryptocurrencies to another individual in a will, additional steps may be necessary. Some of these digital currencies must be converted into a physical currency before they can be transferred. Because cryptocurrencies can be bought and sold, there also may be taxes or other fees to consider.
Adults ages 20 to 40 years old are among the most likely to use cryptocurrency. Anyone in Massachusetts who wants to learn more about how cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, may be included in their wills can consult with an estate planning attorney. Attorneys may be able to help their clients to understand what information their beneficiaries may need to claim these currencies. It may also be possible to amend an existing will to include a new cryptocurrency account or remove an old account that is no longer in use.