The basic guide to setting up your Bitcoin Will

This is a topic most Bitcoiners have thought about, but few actually implement. The brutal reality of being a Bitcoiner at this point in time is that if you were to be removed from the equation it is quite unlikely that your dependents will be able to access your Bitcoin savings, effectively rendering your Sats lost to the universe forever. This is because we are still in the early adoption phase of Bitcoin and most normal people (normies) have no idea how to operate a Bitcoin wallet.

The solution to this is a simple document which is available to your beneficiaries only in the event of your death. The document should detail what steps should be taken in order to access your Bitcoin. However, it should have several steps of separation within it to ensure that should some unauthorised party gain access to it, they are not able to control your Bitcoin. What I mean by this is that it should not directly contain your private keys, but rather a set of instructions of how to access them, with security checks in between which serve as gatekeepers against unauthorised access. 

The basic architecture of your Bitcoin will should be as follows:

Two documents:

  1. Bitcoin will (document A)

This contains the high level detail of what digital assets are in your estate. Detail them broadly enough so that your beneficiaries know they exist but without disclosing sensitive information such as private keys or any information that is subject to change. This should be a broad guiding document and nothing more. It could also contain a password to be used to access the Addendum document. This can help to limit unauthorised access to the Addendum. 

  1. Addendum (document B)

This document contains all the details of the digital assets that you wish to include in your estate. The reason that it is separate from document A is that it allows you to change it as you need, without having to alter document A. 

Document A could contain something like this:

Bitcoin Will

“I leave all my cryptocurrency investments, crypto-coins, tokens, any other form of digital cash, or anything found in or on my cryptocurrency wallets to [insert name of beneficiary].

My cryptocurrency might be stored on digital wallets, paper wallets, online exchanges, or a combination of wallets and exchanges. The following items or devices might contain a cryptocurrency wallet: _______________, _______________, and _______________. These items should not be distributed to any person until such time as the cryptocurrency, digital cash, or any information related to the access of my cryptocurrency is transferred to [beneficiary named above].

I have created a separate writing from this will that explains how to access my cryptocurrency wallets and online cryptocurrency accounts. This document needs to be kept private as it contains the passwords, PINs, and private keys needed to access my cryptocurrency. This document will likely be stored with my other estate planning documents or [insert specified location(s)].”

Password to access Addendum: I_am_Satoshi_2009!$

Document B (the addendum) contains all the details of how to access the Bitcoin detailed in Document A (the Will). This document should ideally be stored in a separate geographic location in a secure environment. Something like a safety deposit box or secure document storage would be a good starting point. Bear in mind that if somebody else gained access to this document, they may be able to access your holdings. Thus keeping document B on a flash drive which is password protected or encrypted could be a good option, with the password/encryption key being provided in Document A. You can get very creative with this, just bear in mind that your aim should always be to limit access to those who are unauthorised. 

A template of the addendum could look something like this:

Addendum to Bitcoin Will

Section 1: Summary of holdings

I have two Bitcoin wallets, the bulk of which is kept on my hardware wallet with a smaller amount kept with Luno. Should you need to access any additional websites, you can gain access via my password manager Bitwarden. Furthermore, 2 factor authentication can be accessed via Google Authenticator, which is on my cellphone. 

Section 2: Holding access codes

Password Manager:

Bitwarden

Master password: I_am_Satoshi_2009!

Cellphone:

Pin code: 1111

Login pattern: The letter N, starting at the bottom left.

Wallet 1: 

Ledger Nano S Hardware wallet 

Location: Fireproof safe in bedroom cupboard

Pin: 11122233

Bitcoin public key: bc1aabbrgkk2pewmuhued2xu3abcqf988sjsarexxgjj3kzdg2vlx90qkg7xay

Private key can be extracted from the device

Wallet 2:

Online custodial wallet

Location: Luno.com

Login details – 

username: johndoe@gmail.com

Password: iamSatoshi_2009

Pin: 1111

Utilizing this two document approach you will be able to create a basic Bitcoin will that ensures that your loved ones are able to access your Bitcoin in the event of your death. This is something that most people shy away from doing, but it could be the most important document that you ever put together. 

We understand that stacking Bitcoin is the best shot that most people have at building generational wealth. The key to generational wealth is being able to pass it on through the generations. Make sure that your affairs are in order so that the wealth can be transferred.  

Ricki Allardice

I'm a freedom maximalist with a background in science, finance, fintech and Bitcoin. I spend my days thinking about Bitcoin, distributed systems and how to decentralize everything.

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