BitCoin—Another illustration of digital asset estate planning

Have you jumped on the bitcoin wagon? No? Well, neither have I, but I’m watching it with interest, and was intrigued when my husband turned up a post on the estate planning implications of participating in the alternative, all-electronic currency market. It’s another example of the growing importance of putting forethought into one’s digital assets as one component of your estate plan. Blogger Wayne Parker at The Genesis Block outlines the complicated, high-tech ways you can “Protect Your Bitcoin Wallet After You Die”. Fortunately, so far, most of us only have

  • Email accounts (and the list of contacts and sent messages)
  • One or more Facebook accounts (and associated assets and liabilities?)
  • Online banking, investment, and retirement accounts
  • A Twitter account (and the associated archive)
  • A Dropbox, Google +, Amazon Prime account …

Okay, maybe “only” isn’t the right word.

What to do? Start with a list. Add to it as you go about your daily affairs and realize the ones you failed to note down. Compile the associated passwords. Then look into password storage security services. (I recently wrote to LifeLock, the ID protection service, to ask if they offered it—so far, they do not, but I’ll be surprised if they don’t add it soon.) Then, incorporate storage of the passwords (or master password, if you sign on to a password manager service) as part of your Letter of Instruction, and make sure that security on that Letter of Instruction is strong.

Or, simplify your life. As my dear Dad likes to say, “It’s a lot of trouble to have anything.” Maybe after you look into the many security risks associated with having online access to various parts of your life, you’ll choose to reduce that access.

Either way, if you’d like a copy of my version of a Letter of Instruction to leave behind for your personal representative, or you need more advice on taking care of your digital assets as part of your estate plan, give me a call—651.280.0002.

A. E. King, J.D.
Attorney at Law
Shoreview, MN