What will happen to your digital assets and cryptocurrency after you die?

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If you’re like most Americans, don’t have a plan in place of what you want to happen to your wealth after you pass away.

Only 46 percent of Americans have made plans regarding how their finances and estates should be managed, according to a 2021 Gallup survey discovered.

These results have been consistent since 1990.

However, even though the reluctance of people to make plans for their demise has not changed in the last few years and the assets they have are likely to become more complex.

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The list of assets to consider has become more prominent, from airline reward points and credit card rewards to accounts on social media and cryptocurrency.

While your written plan, if you have one, ought to cover large items such as your home and retirement savings, you may possess other possessions that you haven’t thought of.

“It’s an ideal idea to be thinking about all the things you or those you love consider important,” said Abby Schneiderman, co-founder and co-CEO for Everplans, which assists people setting up accounts to keep the wills of their loved ones, passwords, and funeral wishes.

“Take note of the things you need and think about who you could want to buy these items in the event of something happening in your life,” Schneiderman said.

The Impact of Bankruptcy Law on Digital Assets

A growing number of digital platforms have conducted initial coin offerings in recent years (ICOs). Securities regulations are the primary lens through which ICOs are examined. However, in a new study, I look at how bankruptcy law affects organizations with tokens in their investment portfolios. What happens if a debtor who holds tokens becomes insolvent and is subject to insolvency proceedings, for example? How can the debtor’s creditors get their hands on tokens? What can be done to keep the bankruptcy stay in place? And how can you enforce rules against fraudulent conveyances?

When a debtor files for Louisiana Bankruptcy, the trustee or other body in charge of administering the bankruptcy estate (hereafter the insolvency practitioner or IP) must assess which of the debtor’s assets are available to creditors under property and contract law. When those assets contain tokens, though, the procedure becomes more difficult. 

To begin, the tokens’ owner can only access them using a secret digital key. Second, the debtor may have obtained the tokens under a fictitious name that is difficult to trace back to the debtor. Both of these concerns make hiding the tokens from creditors quite simple for the debtor. But what if the IP finds out about the tokens and the debtor’s ownership? How can creditors get their hands on the tokens?

When insolvency proceedings are filed, the debtor’s assets are usually taken away from him and given to the IP. However, most jurisdictions declare a debtor’s asset transfer legally illegal or ineffectual under post-commencement avoidance provisions if the debtor nonetheless transfers an asset. This means the IP will have the right to demand that the transferee restore the asset, or its value, to the estate. These regulations should theoretically apply in circumstances where the debtor has transferred assets via blockchain. Again, the IP may be completely unaware of these transactions. 

However, if the IP is aware of them, reversing those operations will be difficult due to the fact that blockchain transactions are theoretically irreversible. Certainly, the IP might apply the rule that applies when the transferred goods have died or are no longer among the transferee’s assets. The IP’s only claim against the transferee in that situation is for money. Money, on the other hand, may not be adequate if the transaction involves tokens. Tokens, like a house or a vehicle, have a fixed worth, but they also confer a set of rights, including the right to vote and a share of earnings, similar to traditional securities. Tokens may also appreciate in value, just like traditional securities.

Make a list of digital assets.

Your digital assets can vary from software and hardware to videos or photos.

To ensure that these resources are available in the event of an emergency, you should have shared the unlock code of both your mobile and computer with someone else in your family, Schneiderman recommended.

Furthermore, it is recommended to store all your passwords for online use into a password manager with security and ensure that someone else can access the password information.

“If you don’t, you could be completely shut out of our world today,” Schneiderman said.

In addition to giving access to accounts on social media, create a strategy for what you’d like to see continue following your death, should you need to.

With Facebook as an example, you can notify the company that you’d like to keep your account in the event of your death, According to Certified Financial Planner Carolyn McClanahan, director of financial planning at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida.

It might be a bit more difficult for other social media companies, McClanahan said. In addition, it’s crucial to state whether you would like the account to be closed or to continue.

This can be particularly difficult for social media and other websites that earn money. Do you wish the business to be shut down, or do you have someone else to transfer it?

“You must do some planning with a lot of thought,” McClanahan said. “That’s an investment in financial assets, not only an asset that’s digital.”

The choice of naming a digital executor who will help you fulfill your wishes could help make the settlement of your digital estate easier, Schneiderman noted.

This isn’t a legally binding designation in many states since an executor has the will, she said. But the executor can still assist the executor in executing your wishes.

Give access to online accounts for financial transactions

If you do not grant access to financial assets online, there is a possibility that they may be lost forever.

This is particularly true for the cryptocurrency-related asset, McClanahan noted.

“If you’re gone, and no one knows what to do, the information is lost forever,” she said.

A detailed record of your online accounts and passwords using an encrypted password manager can ensure that all of your assets are not neglected.

It’s also crucial to consider the benefits certain accounts offer, from airline points to rewards on credit cards.

Specific points might be redeemable by spouses. However, McClanahan said it might not be possible to transfer the points to family members or friends.

“People have these massive accounts,” McClanahan said. “Don’t do it, as it will strain the family you love.”

You should make arrangements for your pet.

Although you can’t leave the property directly to animals, you can plan to take care of your pets. 

This includes naming a caretaker and any money donated to them to pay for the pet’s care, Schneiderman said.

Consider sentimental items too.

The things you like to pass down are more personal than financial worth.

For Schneiderman, the recipe includes cookies her grandmother taught her, passed down through families for generations.

It could be a significant item of jewelry, such as the wedding ring of your grandparents.

Identifying who receives the items you own while living could help avoid family conflicts after you’ve passed away. McClanahan stated that she counsels clients to let their friends and family choose what they’ll need in the future in advance.

Additionally, she helps clients list their wishes for their funeral arrangements. This will help to reduce the number of choices their families grieving must make.

“Wills provide the basic information, but they don’t address the specifics of what happens after someone is killed,” McClanahan said.

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