What Will Become of Your Bitcoins When You Die?

The Law Society is urging people to leave clear instructions for their intellectual property and digital media in case of death.

Most of the digital legacy people leave behind when they shuttle off this mortal coil has sentimental value – it is not something that can be appraised or valued in hard cash.

Social network accounts, images, music, emails and backups of all of the above constitute the majority of our digital legacy. Families may want to access such information and preserve it for posterity. As more and more people store their data in the cloud and use their social accounts as repositories for photos and videos, digital legacy is slowly becoming as important as family photo albums or diaries.

Gary Rycroft, a member of the Law Society Wills and Equity Committee, warns people should not assume family members know where to look online and therefore need to make details of their digital life absolutely clear.

However, a lot of business is done in a purely digital form nowadays, hence an average person’s digital legacy is increasingly likely to contain some valuable information, projects, intellectual property and in some instances digital currency.

Bitcoin wallets are not bank accounts

Gaining access to a family member’s bank accounts after death is usually easy. Bankers and legislators have been dealing with the problem for decades and it is usually hassle free, as it is in nobody’s interest to antagonise grief stricken families. Every jurisdiction has a clear set of rules governing the matter and unless a dispute arises (usually between the family members), the process should be straightforward.

However, what if the deceased had a few bitcoins stashed away?

This is where it can get very complicated, especially given the basic idea behind bitcoin. Many people use it because it is pseudo-anonymous and many bitcoin operators are more than willing to cater to their needs, with multiple layers of encryption, authentication and a range of other services and security measures… Read more at Coindesk.

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