How to prevent the loss of virtual and crypto assets in the event of death?


Mary is an active investor who trades both in Estonia and abroad. Mary uses Coinbase, Kraken and Interactive Brokers. Although Mary hopes that she has many years to go, she thinks about securing the future of her three children. Mary wants the return on her investment to be used to cover her children's education. Mary has heard that if something happens to her, her digital accounts and assets on them may be difficult to find and access. She does not want anyone to have access to her accounts while she is alive. How to ensure that the digital accounts and assets reach the desired heirs in case of her death?

Mary is right - her virtual wallets and investments made through foreign companies may not reach her heirs without her taking some steps during her lifetime. In the course of the inventory of the estate, the list of assets is compiled based on the data received from the heirs, the information left by the bequeather herself and data received from the registers. In the course of succession proceedings, a notary makes inquiries into the Estonian Central Register of Securities, the Estonian traffic register, the Estonian Funded Pension Registry, the marital property register, the land register and credit institutions operating in Estonia. If Mary does not inform anyone during her lifetime that she also has assets in companies that provide digital wallets and trading services abroad, these assets are part of the inheritance, but in practice it is difficult to reach them.

In order for the data about Mary's virtual assets and assets abroad to reach the heirs from Mari's assets abroad and online, Mary can appoint a trustee or make a will. If Mary only wishes to store data about virtual accounts, she does not have to draw up a will and it is sufficient to appoint a trustee. Mary can deposit information about the location of her assets and the necessary access data with the trustee. It is recommended to add an access key. The access key and the location of the assets can be stored in a sealed envelope and they will be disclosed only in the event of Mary's death. For example, a lawyer or a law firm may be appointed as a trustee.

Another option is to list your digital and foreign assets in a will. Mary can make a will herself and store it at home (a domestic will). The domestic will is valid for six months and there is a risk that it will not be found in the event of death. In order for a will prepared by Mary to be valid indefinitely and to be found in the event of her death, it is necessary to deposit it in a sealed envelope or use the notary's assistance in drafting the will (a notarised will). In the case of a will deposited with a notary, the notary does not know the content of the will until the death of the person. Mary can amend and revoke an existing will by making a new will or destroying an existing will.

It is possible to appoint an executor of a will - a person who executes the instructions given by the bequeather. Such arrangements may include the management of investments and the disbursement of income to finance children's education. The executor does not have to be chosen from among the heirs, but can be a third, neutral person. Before appointing an executor, it is reasonable for Mary to discuss with a potential executor of the will whether the person is prepared to perform this obligation.

Making a will and storing the data of the assets with a trustee does not impose any restrictions on Mary during her lifetime. Mary is still able to make all the transactions as she sees fit. If Mary wishes to change or supplement the instructions she has given, she does not need the consent of the children, a notary or a trustee.

Both the notary and the lawyer have a duty of professional secrecy and the bequeather does not have to fear that the information he or she has trusted to a notary or to a lawyer would be disclosed to a third party during his or her lifetime.

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