The Worst Treasure Hunts

Where’s Step 3? We’ve talked about Step 1 and Step 2 of the 6 Steps for Efficient Estate Planning. But. Two recent news items caught my eye. And you haven’t had your appointment with the lawyer yet. Right? Right.

So let’s pause for a bit and talk about items in the news that remind me of all the reasons I do death law, I do a podcast and I do this website.

Okay. The first is a stunning story about a CEO of a cryptocurrency exchange.

At 30, he died from complications of Crohn’s disease. Reports are coming out that, yes, he had a will. So what’s the problem? It seems no one else in the company had access to the electronic keys to the cryptocurrency. What do I mean by all that? Cryptocurrency is a digital form of currency that’s based on computer code. The electronic key is a piece of code that allows for the transfer of the currency.

No key, no access to the money. It’s like a treasure chest. A will might say who gets a chest. It isn’t going to get you into the chest. And the key wasn’t just to his personal currency, but millions of the company’s.

This case illustrates that for all of the benefits of the legal paperwork, they aren’t a magic wand that resolves all issues. Very practical issues are out there that you need to still think about.

One of the primary issues is how people are supposed to know what assets you own and have what they need to access it… or at least access information to track it down. Too many times, after someone dies, the people left are on the worst kind of treasure hunt. Trying to track down assets, but instead of hoping to find a prize they run the risk of missing assets.

You don’t need to be into cryptocurrency or be a silicon valley icon to have this problem. Do you know what unclaimed property is? It’s when assets sit for so long they get turned over to the state. Much of this property are assets, like insurance policies, bank accounts and financial instruments, that were missed by relatives because they didn’t know they existed.

That’s why Step 1 – Gather, is so important. Not only do you need to have some idea of what you own when trying to reduce the legal to-do list for other people, you need to have a method of informing your people of what you have.

That’s why I put together an asset checklist. Find it under the content tab. Don’t let the treasure hunt you leave, be a nightmare for your people.

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