With cryptocurrency brokerages like Coinbase boasting 98 million verified users, it would be helpful for investors to have the option to name Coinbase beneficiaries right on the platform. That way, if the unthinkable happened, Coinbase users could have their virtual funds transferred seamlessly and intentionally, without the necessity of probate.
Unfortunately, the system isn’t that easy for Coinbase account beneficiaries. This has been a serious problem for some inheritors—especially those who know their deceased loved one held a small fortune in cryptocurrency but can’t access those funds after the person’s death. To add insult to injury, if the deceased didn’t plan for transfer of cryptocurrency as part of their estate plan, those funds could be forfeited altogether.
In this article, we’ll walk you through both the estate planning strategies you need to deploy in order to protect your cryptocurrency, as well as the steps your inheritors will need to take with Coinbase to gain access to your account in the event of your death.
Step #1: Include Cryptocurrency Beneficiaries in Your Estate Plan
While most people are familiar and comfortable with the idea of including physical assets in their estate plans (e.g., homes, vehicles, cash, etc.), many are still unsure what to do with digital assets like cryptocurrency. In truth, however, this is one of the most critical steps in modern estate planning.
When it comes to digital currencies, your estate plan should not only make provisions for transfer of value but should also give clear instructions on where and how to find and access your cryptocurrency accounts. These steps are so important, in fact, that if your current estate planning attorney isn’t familiar with these types of transfers, you absolutely must find one who is.
Step #2: Coinbase Beneficiaries Must Contact the Company
After you pass, your Coinbase account beneficiaries will need to directly contact the platform to access your funds. According to the company’s website, here are the precise steps that need to be taken:
- Access the Coinbase Contact Form.
- Under “Choose your product,” select Coinbase or Coinbase Pro.
- Under “Let’s get started,” choose the option for “Other Issues.”
- Then, under “What is your issue about?” choose “I’m requesting access for a deceased account holder.”
- Under “What seems to be the problem?” choose “General.”
- Finally, follow the onscreen prompts to get in touch with Coinbase Support.
Once your Coinbase beneficiaries are in touch with Customer Support, the process is not over. The Support team will need several things from them in order to process your bequest:
- A death certificate.
- Either a Last Will and Testament or other probate documents (e.g., Probate, Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration, Affidavit for Collection, or Small Estate Affidavit).
- A current, valid, government-issued photo identification of the person(s) named in the probate documents.
- A letter signed by the person(s) named in the Probate Documents that tells Coinbase what to do with the balance of the deceased person’s Coinbase account.
In large part, the documents Coinbase requires will depend on where you live and each person’s particular situation. While compliance with these requirements may seem like a lot of work, it’s very important for beneficiaries to be as thorough as possible.
That said, Coinbase prides itself on its Customer Support, so if the beneficiaries don’t have one or more of those documents, they should be honest about that. Coinbase may still be able to assist with their efforts to recover the account balance, especially if your Coinbase beneficiary has the cooperation of your estate planning attorney.
Kierman Law Can Help
If you or your loved ones have any questions about digital asset estate planning or Coinbase account beneficiaries in particular, Kierman Law can help. Contact us today to make sure your hard-earned cryptocurrencies are properly protected and distributed for future generations.