Richard Smith

Partner & Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 16 Feb 2024 LAST UPDATED: 16 Feb 2024

The importance of keeping your digital assets safe

Depending on whether you hold your digital assets online or offline, it is important that your Executors and Trustees know how to access them.

In December 2018, QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotton passed away without sharing important credentials to crypto wallets, which resulted in around $250 million USD of people’s crypto assets becoming inaccessible. Estate planning amidst the rise and use of digital assets is a crucial component that should not be overlooked.

Online digital assets

Digital assets may require passwords, pins, or codes. It is important that your Executors and Trustees know your passwords to access the digital asset(s). A password, pin or code alone may not be enough to access your digital assets.

You need to consider any hurdles that may prevent your Executor and Trustee accessing your digital assets. This is why you need to plan ahead, otherwise it could end the akin to Gerald Cotten’s story above.

Important factors

Some information in your Will should never be drafted as Wills become a matter of public record once probate has been obtained. This is why a Letter of Wishes can be important.

Drafting a Letter of Wishes can help your Executors and Trustees with the administration of your digital assets. A Letter of Wishes will not be binding to your Will; however, it gives your Executors and Trustees guidance on how to access your digital assets.

What’s more, devices are technologically advancing and evolving; it is vital that your Executors and Trustees know how to deal with this in the future.

What should you do?

You need to provide your Executors and Trustees with the information on how to access your digital assets. You need to make sure the information you provide your Executors and Trustees is secure. You should also make sure the information is reviewed and updated regularly.

How can Ellis Jones help?

If you are unsure or need help with crypto asset related queries, please visit our cryptocurrency specialist webpage. You can contact the team on 01202 525333 or email Richard.smith@ellisjones.co.uk. Alternatively, you can also email our specialist Cryptocurrency team by emailing cryptocurrency@ellisjones.co.uk.

About the authors

Richard Smith

Richard is a Partner and Solicitor within our Wills, Trusts & Probate department based in the Bournemouth office. He has vast experience in dealing with Wills, Administration of Estate and Trusts.

Alex Chance

Alex is a Legal Placement from Bournemouth University and is gaining experience in our Wills, Trusts & Probate department based in Bournemouth.

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

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