Cryptocurrencies in Your Estate Plan – What You Need to Know

Illinois will and trusts lawyersBitcoin, Ethereum, and other types of cryptocurrencies have made many savvy investors quite wealthy – and many of them have been able to keep their wealth secret. Unfortunately, the very thing that makes such currencies appealing can also endanger the wealth of one’s heirs. Learn how and why you should add your cryptocurrencies into your estate plan, and discover how a seasoned Illinois wills and trusts lawyer can assist with the process and mitigate any financial loss. 

The Hidden Nature of Cryptocurrency Creates Issues for Heirs 

Because the money is entirely digital, cryptocurrencies can be easily lost. In fact, there are stories about investors who have had to dig through their trash after losing their password and login information. Others choose to keep their currency stored offline, on a thumb drive. However, even this presents a problem in estate planning. 

One cannot gain access to a cryptocurrency account if they do not know that it exists – and since most investors want their funds to stay private, most heirs do not have any knowledge of the account. Yet, even with knowledge of it, the heir cannot search for the account like they could a bank account or retirement account, and they would not receive notice from the Internal Revenue Service since the agency does not typically have knowledge of the account either. Thankfully, there is a way to protect your cryptocurrency wealth and your heirs from severe financial loss. 

Adding Cryptocurrencies to Your Estate Plan

While you should definitely include every financial account to your estate plan, it is absolutely critical that you take the proper steps to ensure your cryptocurrencies are accurately documented and easily retrievable. One way to do this is to download your account to a thumb drive, offline, and then store it with your estate planning documents. Another is to ensure you include all details of your account into the estate plan and ensure it is safely stored (i.e. a locking safe). Some investors choose to do both, just to be safe. Either way, be sure that your heirs know where to find your estate plan and other pertinent documents. 

Contact Our DuPage Estate Planning Lawyers

If you have not yet created your estate plan, or you need to add your cryptocurrency account to it to ensure your heirs receive all the wealth to which they are entitled, Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC is the firm to trust. Our seasoned DuPage County estate planning attorneys have over 40 years of experience in the industry, and we can assist you with developing a sound set of documents that protect your wealth and your heirs. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule your personalized consultation with us today. 



Do You Have Digital Assets?

digital assets, DuPage County estate planning lawyer, digital estate planThe rise of the digital age makes estate planning all the more important, because there are new concerns and safeguards you should consider. Many records, memories, and assets are stored somewhere in the cloud and protected by passwords. If you were to pass away, your family might not even be aware of these assets, much less able to access them.

A study from McAfee indicates that the average consumer has over $37,000 in digital assets across several devices. What is a digital asset? This can include personal information, entertainment files, career records, and photo libraries, more and more of which are being stored online behind a password. The study had each individual assign an estimate to their digital assets, although nearly one-third of survey respondents indicated they did not use any kind of security protection at all.

Digital assets are now also frequently stored on smartphones and tablets, making threats of attack on these devices more and more popular. Malware attacks on Android devices alone have increased significantly in recent years. Consumers should be aware of the amount of information they have stored online in addition to developing a plan for its transfer, if needed.

The market is struggling to meet the needs of consumers interested in protection while enabling family members to access the data if the consumer were to pass away. Your passwords and connection information to these details should be stored securely in the event of an emergency. You can consult with your estate planning attorney to learn more about how to pass vital data on to loved ones if you pass away.

Your estate planning process should incorporate all of your assets, including digital ones. Make sure you have secured this information and generated a plan for family access down the road. Get started with your comprehensive plan today by contacting an Illinois estate planning attorney.

Estate Planning: Do You Want To Leave a Digital Fingerprint?

Most everyone is familiar with the benefits of traditional estate planning, from articulating your desires in a living will to generating trusts or wills that explain what happens to your assets after you pass away. As people are increasingly active online, it’s necessary to think about what might happen to your digital assets after you pass away. Everything from the photos on your Facebook account to the contents of your email inbox is worth considering.

Failing to think about what should happen to your digital accounts and data after you pass away can lead to additional emotional trauma for family members in the wake of your death. Companies involved with digital data are increasingly cognizant of the role that stored information can play in family disputes or dissemination of information, which is why Google has created Inactive Account Manager.

With Google’s new tool, which just came out this spring, users can determine what happens to their data on their own terms. Using this program allows individuals to designate what will happen to any information or data connected with Google accounts- including everything from email to videos posted on YouTube.

Users can name other individuals who will be notified about account deactivation, which you can set to occur anywhere from 3-12 months after the company identifies you as “inactive”. Google will reach out one month before they official terminate your accounts, in the event that you’re traveling or otherwise around. Beneficiaries, if you name them, will receive digital links to download any information that you have previously chosen to share. This way, digital memories can be kept alive if you wish, or you can have all of the information deleted.

Other companies also offer what’s known as online safe deposit boxes, where you can store information about account sign-ins and passwords, allowing beneficiaries to get information if they want or need it.

Estate planning now reaches right into your computer screen. If you have questions about developing estate plans, contact our office today for a consultation.


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