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What happens to your crypto currency when you die?


What happens to your crypto currency when you die?

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Crypto currencies, in general, are often seen as a secret investment in South Africa due to the fact that they are not regulated. Most people see that secrecy as a great advantage, but have you thought about what that means for you and your estate when you pass away?

Because cryptocurrencies are not regulated it is often the case that there is no clear audit trail and reporting done on such an investment and if your investment in such a product is not well documented and communicated to heirs of your estate, you may well be setting them up for a wild goose chase once you pass away. Ownership cannot just be passed on as would easily be the case with more common and regulated investment products which are often bought via registered financial services companies.

Cryptocurrencies require a lot of private information such as login details before the digital assets can be accessed. Without such details, it is almost impossible to get the digital asset and you run the risk of such an asset just being forfeited due to the fact that nobody can access it. Some exchanges also have multilayer authentication such as security questions or mobile OTP’s (one-time pins) etc.

Failure to properly record all the necessary information and processes in order to get to the digital asset will leave both, your heirs and the executor of your estate, running around on wild goose chase and can also lead to a point where nothing can be done to get such information and as such the asset then gets forfeited and is not included in your estate on death.

Things to keep in mind –

  1. Mention the digital asset when doing estate planning.
  2. Include details in your will about the digital asset. Details such where the asset is held, what are the passwords for accessing the asset etc.
  3. Include it in your will as to who should get the asset and instruct the executor to only release the login details to that specific person/s.
  4. Try and create hard copies of any digital wallets that you have and keep it with your will.
  5. Always inform heirs that you want to inherit the asset on your death where the asset is held and that more info will be held in your will as to how it should be accessed..
  6. Remember to include the asset in your estate planning as an asset.

Always consult a specialist when dealing with digital currency to understand the pro’s and con’s of having such an asset. Also consult a financial adviser and estate planner to best understand how to cater for such products in your estate.


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Shameer Chothia is currently an Employee Benefits Consultant at Momentum Consultant and Actuaries. He is the chairman of the Rhine Stone Body Corporate and the Founder and Head Financial Coach at LMS Financial Coaching. Shameer is deeply passionate about financial literacy and education. He truly believes that there is duty to empower people with education, which makes a difference in their everyday lives. To achieve this, he founded LMS, actively changing lives by empowering people with financial knowledge

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