Research estimates that up to 3.8 million Bitcoin, worth £22.8bn has been lost as a result of the deceased not informing their beneficiaries of how to retrieve the currency.
David Janczewski, CEO of Coin Cover, a cryptocurrency Will maker, said:
“Cryptocurrency is one of those odd things which is very private for a lot of people. If you acquired yours early, you might actually have a substantial amount of money. You might be worried about your personal security.
“And nobody thinks they are going to die. Nobody plans for that eventuality. And therefore, when that happens, maybe you haven’t told your family members exactly how they should recover it.”
David King, a wills, trusts and estates lawyer at Harrison Clark Rickerbys solicitors, said an increasing number of clients – currently about two in 10 – count cryptocurrency among their assets.
“I think we, as private client lawyers, need to step into the 21st Century now and start recording that data when we are meeting with clients.
“One of the things that clients don’t like is to give away the access codes for this information.
“Whilst it’s secure and we as a firm of solicitors have a duty to the client to keep that confidential, naturally there is a hesitancy from the client to give us that information. [But] I think we need to be smarter.”
In our next article we look at how testators can leave cryptocurrency in their Will and what you need to advise so their executors and beneficiaries know how to access it.