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    How should wills address digital assets like cryptocurrency?

    Passing along wealth when everything is either available in cash or held in a bank is straightforward enough. While solid estate planning and proper communication with financial institutions has always been a good idea, for a long time the documentation needed for most was limited to wills, real estate deeds and stock certificates. However, an increasing number of Ontario residents are needing to consider digital assets such as cryptocurrency and online businesses when drafting estate plans.

    In some ways, planning the transition of digital assets is the same as any traditionally held asset. Like anything, the planner should leave a list of assets and how to access them. Digital assets may need some additional explanation, especially when dealing with a less tech-savvy executor, so it’s a good idea to go into as much detail as possible within estate plans.

    Along with account passwords, digital asset holders should provide other authentication information that may be required by a website. PINs, security questions and email or text message verification are all ways websites work to protect a person’s digital properties. Providing all this information to executors can help them access necessary accounts.

    Without proper planning, executors can be left without recourse when it comes to accessing digital assets. There are many cases of large amounts of cryptocurrency being lost because technical plans were not developed. Technical plans combined with legal documents clearly explaining who has a right to that asset are critical in these cases. The best way to start is to speak with an Ontario lawyer who has experience drafting wills in the province.

    The content on this website is for information purposes only and is not legal advice, which cannot be given without knowing the facts of a specific situation. You should never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. The use of the website does not establish a solicitor and client relationship. If you would like to discuss your specific legal needs with us, please contact our office at 613-563-7544 and one of our lawyers will be happy to assist you.

    Posted By: Sarah Macaluso of Merovitz Potechin LLP

    Associate

    Sarah Macaluso practices extensively in the areas of estate planning (including drafting of wills, powers of attorney and trusts), estate administration and estate litigation. She is a hard-working, client-focused advocate with a can-do attitude. She focuses her attention on what matters most for her clients: the results.

    Before joining Merovitz Potechin LLP in 2018, Sarah articled at a reputable civil litigation firm in her hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.

    Sarah holds an honours degree in Business from McMaster University, and Juris Doctor degree from the University of Ottawa. While in law school, Sarah worked at the Business Legal Clinic, providing legal services and education to members of the Ottawa community. She also won the Beament Green Prize for Trial Advocacy.

    Sarah regularly appears before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Small Claims Court.

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