Estate planning usually involves your tangible assets. But what happens when your loved ones cannot access your cryptoassets online?

Estate planning is increasingly important amongst the public, even though there is a general lack of awareness from them.

There is a need for many to plan ahead for eventualities that may happen, be it from old age, ill health, or even sudden unexpected death.

And when that happens, having a valid Will in place would greatly ease the burdens of the deceased family as the Will would lay out the last wishes and allow for an easier estate administration of the estate’s Executor.

Estate Administration is the process of compiling and managing the deceased’s assets, settling any debts and distributing the remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries.

One of the first tasks for an administrator aside from ascertaining Will’s validity would be to call in all your assets and obtain access to it in order to distribute it to the rightful beneficiaries.  

In Malaysia, without a proper Will, the estate would fall upon the Distribution Act 1958, a cumbersome process that a family would undertake without having the experience and knowledge to proceed.

Unclaimed Assets: An Unfortunate Reality

A recent report by Free Malaysia Today (FMT) had recently claimed that over RM60 billion in unclaimed estates of deceased people have not been claimed by their heirs since Malaysia gained independence.

While the initial report may have been debunked by a subsequent article by The Edge, the article has highlighted some issues with the general public yet face when it comes to estate planning; the lack of it and the difficulty that some heirs would face in obtaining their rightful inheritance after the deceased has passed on.

More so the fact that with the rise of digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are becoming increasingly common.

Such digital currencies operate on blockchain technologies where they act as a digital wallet for the currencies. By the end of 2017, it is estimated that there are over 21 million users reported to be using blockchain wallets for transactions of their digital currencies.

The Rise of Blockchain Wallets

Blockchain wallets are software programs that allow their users to buy, sell, or store their digital currencies.

How it works is that the data is decentralised and then stored across a network. The block is fragmented and broken individually and then linked to the previous block and time-stamped.

These links would create “chains”, ensuring greater security with users holding a private key and a public key that can be shared with others.

The private key acts as a digital signature and should a record be altered would cause the signature to be invalidated. Thus the monies in those wallets are kept securely and without the specific passwords to access them, no one would be able to access them.

As an industry, Blockchain is transforming businesses around the world due to its high secured and decentralised nature.

Entire world economies are moving onto digital platforms and with the current rate of adoption of cryptocurrencies, would only grow larger in the years to come.

Wills & Blockchain tech: An Unchartered frontier 

In short, blockchain technology is already changing the landscape for most industries and is set to do the same for digital currencies and estate planning.

Unless the deceased had previously shared their account details and passwords to their loved ones, chances are they would not have the ability to access said digital wallets containing the monies.

So what happens when the deceased has passed on without informing their loved ones about their private e-wallets? How would they recover the monies?

For now, services providing solutions to such problems remain scarce. While companies such as Will Token are starting to provide such services, the market remains untapped and ripe for expansion.



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