I’m not aware that you can name a beneficiary to accounts at Coinbase. This is not uncommon, as many institutions don’t allow you to name beneficiaries on taxable accounts. Traditionally, beneficiary designations are set for retirement accounts, wills & trusts, and annuities. So, if your financial institution doesn’t allow you to name a beneficiary on the account, you’ll have to do so in your will or trust (and make sure the relevant document references or applies to the account).

Many digital asset exchanges do not permit trust registrations, or even joint registrations with spouses; they often permit only registrations featuring the name of a sole individual. This is archaic, reflecting the fact that they are not aware of, or don’t care about, the estate planning and tax planning aspects of asset ownership. This will improve over time as they mature – and as they continue to engage with the financial services industry. For now, it remains cumbersome at many exchanges. No one in the field is winning any awards for customer service yet. Soon, though, as competition grows, pricing and service will improve. The analogy: when Model T cars first got produced, there weren’t any paved roads. Just dirt trails created by horses pulling buggies. Over time, those trails were paved, and later, highways built. Service, performance and reliability all improved exponentially. In crypto, we’re still in the horse-and-buggy days. It’s a hassle, but you’re being rewarded by having profit potential that future participants might not enjoy.

Your notion of using a cold wallet won’t help you, by the way. There’s no registration at all with such a device, let alone opportunity to name a beneficiary. If you put your digital assets onto a flash drive, make sure your heir knows where you store it and how to access it.