HM Insights

Cryptocurrency in executry estates – how to avoid assets becoming 'lost' on death

A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses cryptography for security, making it difficult to counterfeit. Given the digital nature of today's society, ownership of cryptocurrency is becoming increasingly popular, meaning that it's becoming more likely that it will form part of an estate on death.


Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have a digital ledger setting out transactions. The ledger contains incorporeal entries giving the owner assets in the form of currency.

What steps should I take to ensure my Executors can access my "digital wallet"?

A "digital wallet" stores the public and private "keys" which the holder requires to receive or spend the cryptocurrency. A digital wallet can be held on various devices, e.g. the owner's computer, mobile, tablet etc.

It is important that holders of cryptocurrency tell someone they trust (perhaps their Executor) how to access their digital wallet. Where a deceased person has not advised anyone of their password the cryptocurrency will be inaccessible, possibly rendering it worthless. All that is required for theft of the cryptocurrency is the password so it is important to consider carefully who should be entrusted with the password.

Get in touch

For any assistance regarding cryptocurrency, please get in touch with your usual Harper Macleod contact.