You probably know that there are more than 100 duties for an executor settling an estate. The process can be overwhelming. To simplify the process, we’ve created a list of what we think are the 15 Primary Duties of an Executor.
But, here’s something not on the list that you probably haven’t considered in preparing or settling an estate…
Back in March 2022, an NBC News poll found that one in five Americans has invested in, traded or used cryptocurrency. That number has certainly increased by now. While most people believe that crypto investing tends to skew younger, the average age of a crypto investor is actually 47, and one in 14 baby boomers own it. This means that you shouldn’t be surprised if you find cryptocurrency in an estate, even if you serve as an executor of the estate of someone who died at 70+. It is likely that crypto is in more estates than most people think.
One of the features of cryptocurrencies is that they are digital currencies–they don’t exist in the physical world in the same way a quarter or dollar bill does. The cryptocurrencies you own are stored in a digital wallet, and without the file and accompanying password, the money cannot be accessed. And because cryptocurrencies are also decentralized (governments and banks don’t control them), there is no one to call to help retrieve a lost file or password. It’s no surprise, therefore, that estimates predict that more than 30 percent of cryptocurrency is lost forever.
As the popularity of crypto increases, loss due to death will increase also. If you own cryptocurrencies and have not made plans to share files, passwords, private keys, and the like, you need to make those plans immediately.
If you don’t want to share access details before death and writing down all this information is not your preference, there are crypto custody services and crypto inheritance services you can use. Do your due diligence before you utilize a specific custody or inheritance service, but making no plan for how to let executors and beneficiaries access your cryptocurrency is an unwise decision given the nature of the investment.
If you are the executor and the will writer is still alive, we offer a free question set for an interview of the will writer. There is never an ideal time for this interview, but avoiding the topic can be a very poor choice in the long run.
As with everything in the crypto world, though, things change quickly. Be sure that you and your estate keep up if you have these assets. And, as a reminder, the entire executor process is a lot more complex than most people think. To understand what’s involved in settling a specific estate, let us develop a free custom plan for you to get a better grasp of what’s involved in the process.
Executor.org is a free, comprehensive online resource that helps executors manage their duties in this complex role. This is the best online tool for executors and includes a helpful step-by-step interactive guide and invaluable tips on everything from planning a funeral and keeping beneficiaries happy to dealing with grief and managing estate assets.