Month: January 2022

I Have Cryptocurrency: How Do I Include It in My Estate Planning?

I Have Cryptocurrency: How Do I Include It in My Estate Planning?

Billions of dollars are being poured into cryptocurrency every year, an economic development that may have far-reaching implications. Many believe it is the dawn of a new era of decentralized finance, a world without banks or middlemen. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but one of the more practical concerns for cryptocurrency is how to ensure it is transferred to the right person after you die, i.e., how to make it part of your estate planning.

The very aspects of cryptocurrency that attract many of its proponents—anonymity and decentralization—create unique concerns that must be specifically addressed in an estate plan.

Make Sure Someone Knows About It!

The biggest problem with cryptocurrency and estate planning is that very often, no one else is aware of its existence. There are no bank statements or W-2s; in some ways, the money invested in cryptocurrency has dropped off the grid, and it can easily be lost there if no one knows to go looking for it.

Therefore, the first step to including cryptocurrency in your estate plan is to list it as an asset. You can leave it to your beneficiaries in a traditional will, though some believe this is less secure because the will becomes public when it goes to probate. 

Another popular option is to transfer your cryptocurrency to a living trust. A will helps ensure the cryptocurrency doesn’t get lost and has the added benefits of being more private and bypassing probate.

Passing Along Your Credentials

Cryptocurrency funds are essentially anonymous, accessible to anyone who has the private key or seed phrase needed to log in to the account or digital wallet. Because there is no centralized institution holding the investment, there is no safeguard or backup plan to retrieve funds if the password is lost. In a well-publicized case, one Bitcoin owner misplaced the password to his digital wallet containing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency, losing access to that fortune forever.

Transferring your key or seed phrase as part of your estate is an essential part of passing along your cryptocurrency assets, but the vulnerability to theft also makes this a little tricky. Here are a few options for keeping track of these passwords and making sure they are available after your death.

Share Your Passwords with Someone You Trust – This is the simplest solution, assuming you can trust someone with access to your funds. You may also share parts of the password with multiple people to keep one person from having access.

Safe Deposit Box – An old-school approach to a 21st-century problem. Simply create a hard copy of the passwords and store them in a safe deposit box which can be accessed in the event of your death. Some may choose to divide the password into two or more pieces and store them in multiple locations.

A Dead-Man’s Switch App – Cryptocurrency owners can configure a system where they are required to log in regularly to confirm they are still alive. If they fail to do so, a predetermined process will transfer ownership to someone else.

Create a Living Trust – If you put your cryptocurrency into a trust, not only does it simplify probate as mentioned above, a trustee can access and disburse funds according to the terms of the trust.

Get Help From an Attorney

Cryptocurrency can form a significant part of the legacy you leave behind, but you must take proactive steps to ensure it is passed on. Our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you find a secure solution that meets your needs. Contact us today for a consultation.

Silenced No More Act: New California law addresses workplace harassment and discrimination

Silenced No More Act: New California law addresses workplace harassment and discrimination

A new California law places additional limits on nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) and nondisparagement agreements that restrict employees’ ability to speak publicly about unlawful behavior in the workplace. Signed into law last October as SB 331, the Silenced No More Act went into effect on January 1, 2022, and expands on existing protections.


As workplace harassment and discrimination have received more attention in recent years, the widespread use of contractual agreements to prevent current and former workers from speaking out has also come under increased scrutiny. The agreements are often criticized for allowing companies to avoid negative attention and thus continue fostering unhealthy and unsafe work environments.

Two California laws passed in 2018 sought to combat such secrecy clauses:

SB 820

The STAND Act (SB 820) outlawed the use of NDAs in settlement agreements that prohibit parties from speaking about the factual basis of claims related to workplace sexual harassment and discrimination based on sex.

Legislators noted that many of Harvey Weinstein’s victims were bound by such NDAs, allowing his behavior to continue in secret.

SB 1300

Another 2018 law (SB 1300) made it unlawful for employers to force employees to sign a nondisparagement agreement that prohibited them from speaking publicly about discrimination and harassment in their workplace.

The law was aimed at current employees, who could no longer be made to sign this kind of agreement in order to receive a raise or bonus, or as a condition of employment or continued employment.

The Silenced No More Act

The Silenced No More Act keeps the same basic framework of SB 820 and SB 1300 but provides additional protections for current and former employees.

SB 820 only limited NDAs in settlement agreements where the claims were related to sex discrimination and sexual harassment. If an employee faced discrimination based on race, for example, companies were still allowed to enforce an NDA as part of a settlement.

The new law expands this protection to all forms of harassment and discrimination prohibited by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The protected classes defined in that law are race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, familial status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or veteran or military status.

While SB 1300 placed restrictions on the use of nondisparagement agreements for current employees, the Silenced No More Act extends this rule to severance agreements as well.

There is an exception, however, when the severance agreement is “negotiated,” meaning it was part of a claim brought in an outside setting such as a court and the claimant had the opportunity to be represented by an attorney.

The Silenced No More Act is not retroactive; it applies to agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2022.

What Does the New Law Mean for You?

Whether you are an employee or a business owner, the Silenced No More Act will have a significant effect on how workplace disputes are resolved. To determine how it could affect your case or business, contact us today for a consultation.