Bitcoin Futures on CME December 18th

Today the CME announced bitcoin futures trading will begin on December 18th, 2017. This is very exciting news for crypto market participants. Trading in bitcoin futures on a CFTC regulated exchange will move bitcoin closer to the mainstream, add practically unlimited liquidity, and provide bitcoin holders with a way to hedge their bitcoin price exposure to the USD fiat economy.

The CME bitcoin futures contracts will be cash settled based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR), which aggregates bitcoin trading activity across several spot exchanges between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. London time each day. The contract size will be 5 bitcoins, which considering the current price of $10,000 BTC/USD, the notional value of each contract might be around $50,000. This contract size is probably too big for the average retail trader, but good enough for the rest of us.

FAQ: CME Bitcoin Futures – CME Group – CME Group

CME Group plans to launch Bitcoin futures contracts on December 18, 2017, pending regulatory review and certification. CME Bitcoin futures are based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR), which aggregates bitcoin trading activity across major bitcoin spot exchanges between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. London time.

Bitcoin Futures Get Official Green Light From Regulators

CME, Cboe allowed to proceed after pledges to regulators CFTC says venues will help U.S. surveil bitcoin’s spot market CME Group Inc. and Cboe Global Markets Inc. are poised to offer bitcoin futures contracts, easing the way for mainstream investors to bet big while dragging regulators into a realm skeptics call a fad and fraud.

Bitfinex Euro Market Update

It’s been a few days since Bitfinex listed Euro trading, so we now have some more data to work with. Even though the Bitfinex USD market is based on tether, and fiat deposits/withdrawals will remain severely restricted, the USD market is still much larger than the Euro market. At the time of writing, the current bid/offer for borrowing/lending Euros on Bitfinex is 0.012% to 0.0243% per day. There is 13,000 bid and 140 offered, so the Euro lending/borrowing market is wide and illiquid. This presents some interesting challenges and opportunities. For those of us capable of making a market (either manually or using bots) the wide spread is not such a big deal, at least as long as our volume doesn’t overwhelm the market. For my purposes, I’d put up to 10,000 Euros into this market before I’d start to worry that I can’t get the money out to lenders frequently enough to earn a liquid rate. But it’s a double edged sword, a choice of risk to reward, about whether to get the money out to borrowers or to try and catch a sucker rate.

I’ve also noticed that the volume offered in the Euro lending book on Bitfinex is kinked. There is only about 360,000 Euros offered up to 0.08% per day (from a market of 0.025% per day) and then there is an additional 10,000,000 Euros offered at 0.083% per day. So someone must think this money gets taken at this rate at some chance that they are willing to let the cash sit on the exchange (with all those associated risks) until this time. Not my style of trading (I hate dead money), but it helps us get a sense of the possible outcomes (and the ceiling on rates).

A quick glance at the loan book total outstanding shows the USD amount at 461,787,500.86 and the Euro 190,431.82, so the Euro market on Bitfinex has a long way to go in order to catch up to the USD volume.

Trade Bitcoins, Ethereum, Litecoin Online

I frequently get asked about how to trade crypto currencies. Aspiring traders see the daily swings in the bitcoin price and wonder whether they should take up trying to pick the highs and lows by trading. This post will describe some trading methods and provide you with a list of venues where you can trade.

The first thing to understand about crypto currencies such at bitcoin, ether, and litecoins, is their value is represented by their market price which is simply set by the powers of supply and demand. There is no central authority that determines their market price, so if you want to profit from the daily price swings, you’ll need to have a trading strategy that takes advantage of this volatility.

You’ll also need to choose your trading venue(s). Where you trade will be based on your trading strategy, but also on your legal/tax jurisdiction. Since you’ll need to comply with the laws of your local government, you should choose exchanges that are compliant for you. The place where you trade will be different if you’re American, Canadian, European, Japanese, etc. And sub-state governments such as provinces and states will also have their own laws. It’s common today for each US and European state to regulate bitcoin differently so do careful research to ensure you are trading in a tax compliant way.

The place(s) where you trade will also depend on your strategy. If you are arbitraging the bitcoin price between different exchanges you’ll need to hold accounts at more than one place, and also have wallets that serve as conduits/transfer nodes for cash, if you’re making your trades manually you’ll be more concerned about the trading dashboard and other human readable analytics, but if you’re using a bot to conduct your trades you’ll need the best API access with easy to use functionality.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial of how to trade on QuadrigaCX, a Canadian based bitcoin exchange. Once you open your account, you can fund it with Canadian dollars using Interac if you verify your account. You can also fund your QuadrigaCX account with bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin without verification.

Once logged into QuadrigaCX, choose the “trade” tab from the header menu near the top of the page. As the image below shows, you’ll arrive at a page that shows the current market for CAD/BTC with a simple interface you can use to buy and sell. You’ll notice the best bids are listed on the left side in green, and the best offers are listed on the right side in red. These prices are bids and offers from other users on QuadrigaCX just like yourself who are buying and selling. You might be familiar with a market like this since it operates just like a stock market such as the TSX and NASDAQ.

 

 

You’ll notice on the image above, the current market has a best bid of $9,995.01 and a best offer of $10,000.06. This means another user is willing to buy at $9,995.01 and another user is willing to sell at $10,000.06. If you’d like to make a trade right away (a market order) you can sell to the user bidding $9,995.01 and buy from the user offering $10,000.06.  Depending on your trading strategy, you might only be willing to buy at $9,500, so in this case, you can place a order at that price and join the other bids in the order book. Your order will be placed with the quantity you determine at $9,500 until the market drifts down to that level and another user chooses to sell you their bitcoins at that price. Conversely, if you’d like to sell your bitcoins, but only at $10,500, you can place this order as well.

On QuadrigaCX, limit orders placed manually on the dashboard do not have expiration dates, so all orders are essentially good till cancelled (GTC).

As you review the order book from the image above, you will also notice an “amount” beside each price listed in the order book. This is the quantity being bid or offered by all users at that price. This quantity will help you determine whether your order can be filled entirely at the posted price or whether you should choose to pay up or offer down from the best posted price.

 

 

When trading, always keep the fees in mind QuadrigaCX charges an explicit fee of 0.50% per transaction. So if you buy 1 bitcoin at $10,000 CAD, your actual cost will be $10,050. You should also pay attention to the “spread”, which is the difference between the best bids and offers. Using the example above, with a current bid of $9,995.01 and an offer of $10,000.06 the spread is $5.05 or 0.06%. The spread represents an implicit cost of trading too.

Here’s an example of an easy to implement manual trading strategy with a bullish bias. Say you have $1,000 CAD to trade with, you’ve noticed the price of bitcoin is quite volatile, so you plan to make a market on QuadrigaCX to take advantage of this volatility. You will risk 10% of your account with each trade so your unit size will be 0.01 bitcoins since the current price is $10,000.

You place an order to buy 0.01 btc @ $9,993, which is slightly below the current market price using the example image above. You place the order and wait for the market to come to you, when your order is filled, place an order that is 3% above your purchase price (9993 * 1.03 = $10,292), enter your order to sell 0.01 btc @ 10,292 and leave the order in the market.

In the meantime, if you’re still feeling bullish, place another order below the current market, and if this order is also filled, place an order 3% above your fill price. Keep doing this until you reach the maximum value of your account. As you do this, the price of bitcoin will bounce around going up and down, and your orders will fill at prices where you make a spread between your buys and sells. You profit when the price of bitcoin trades within the range of volatility your limit orders imply, and you lose when the price of bitcoins drops straight down.

This is a simple market making strategy with a bullish bias that takes advantage of the volatile price of bitcoin. You can obviously tweak your own strategy to suit your own goals. You could use technical analysis to choose your entry and exit points, etc. Its completely up to you!

Follow this link for a long list of exchanges from around the world.

QuadrigaCX Common Account Verification Questions

Opening an account at QuadrigaCX is the best way for Canadians to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins, ethereum, and litecoin. If you are a Canadian who wants to begin trading or investing in cryptocurrencies on a safe Canadian based bitcoin exchange then you’ll need to open and verify your QuadrigaCX account. It might seem daunting at first, to give QuadrigaCX your personal information, but this is for your own safety since QuadrigaCX is complying with all Canadian money laundering law (AML) so you can be sure you’re following all relevant Canadian laws by using QuadrigaCX.

To verify your QuadrigaCX account, you can either connect your Equifax account, or you can upload your identification manually. The information required includes:

  • A Photo or scan of a Passport or Drivers license – must be in colour
  • A Photo or scan of a bank statement or utility bill showing your name and full address
  • A Photo of yourself holding the government issued ID that you have provided

When I registered, I took a picture of my drivers license from my phone, I downloaded a copy of my phone bill from Rogers.com, and I took a picture of myself holding my drivers license. A few minutes later, a representative from QuadrigaCX called me to confirm my identity, and even asked me to confirm some credentials listed on my LinkedIn profile.

 

 

Here are some common verification questions:

How long does ID & Address verification take?

ID & Address verification is processed manually by the QuadrigaCX Fraud & Compliance team and they aspire to process all new applicants within 72 hours. However, during times of incredible demand for crypto-currencies, there may be delays.

What do you require for ID & Address Verification?

QuadrigaCX uses a manual process performed by members of their Fraud & Compliance team.

Requirements:
– Photo or scan of a Passport or Driver’s license – must be in colour
– Photo or scan of a bank statement or utility bill showing your name and full address
– Photo of yourself holding the government issued ID that you’ve provided. In the same picture have a note that reads “ID VERIFICATION FOR QUADRIGACX.COM” along with today’s date. Make sure your face will be clearly visible and that all ID details are clearly readable.
– Business accounts are required to provide an extra document that supports you are in control of the company, such as articles of incorporation and corporate resolutions.

All of these requirements must be uploaded via the secure file upload within the verification section.

Does QuadrigaCX accept international IDs?

Yes, QuadrigaCX accepts IDs from almost all countries with the exception of the Unites States of America. Canadian Money Service Business (MSB) laws prohibit QuadrigaCX from servicing clients within the Unites States of America. QuadrigaCX will not service US citizens or clients utilizing bank accounts domiciled within the Unites States of America.

Do I need to be verified to trade on QuadrigaCX?

Verification is not required if you plan to fund your QuadrigaCX account with bitcoin, ether, or litecoin and then trade on the exchange for any other fiat or crypto currency.

How does the verification process work?

For Canadian users, QuadrigaCX offers two methods of verification. To become verified, users must complete at least one of the two verification methods:

  1. ID & Address verification where you securely upload copies of your ID and proof of address.
  2. Instant verification in partnership with Equifax where you are served multiple choice questions based on information within your credit file.

By completing either form of verification you enable numerous funding options. Users who complete ID verification gain maximum Interac Online limits and those who complete both methods of verification unlock additional access to EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) funding.

Do I need to be verified to withdraw?

Verification is not required withdraw any fiat or crypto currency from the exchange. Verification is only required to fund your account with CAD or USD.

How to Trade on an Exchange

This post will examine the way a price is formed on an exchange, and also show you how to trade on an exchange, whether you are trading stocks, options, or bitcoins.

What is an exchange?  An exchange is an organized market where things are traded. An exchange is a bit different from an informal market because an exchange provides a venue, standard rules, and becomes the host that participants can trust. In an informal market, traders must rely on the credit worthiness of each other in order enforce agreements. An exchange provides a middleman function that facilitates trade. The venue (whether its physical or digital) provides a place where traders can go to view prices and volume, and get information on the underlying market. Standard rules means that traders don’t have to negotiate specifics each time they make a transaction on an exchange, they can simply rely on the exchange’s standard rules, this promotes fungibility of the underlying things being traded.

Exchanges make money by charging fees to users. This usually comes in the form of a fee per transaction, but can also come in the form of a fee for the right to participate or to provide brokerage services (historically referred to seats). Exchanges do not get involved as principals or agents. The principals to each transaction are the proprietary traders and the agents are the brokers working for their clients. This way, the exchange does not take positions, and so does not take any market risk. Sometimes, a clearinghouse is used by an exchange in order to store the credit risk of market participants. A clearinghouse provides another layer of security to market participants, and especially in markets with leverage such as futures/options, a clearinghouse reduces credit risk and allows participants to trade anonymously, which further facilitates trade.

So you have some basic understanding of free market economics, and you want to get involved, where do you begin? One of the greatest strengths of our modern world is that anyone with access to a computer and an internet connection can get involved in trading on exchanges. With the advent of crypto currencies, there are very low barriers to entry. If you want to trade stocks on recognized exchanges such as NYSE and Euronext, you will need to hold an account with a registered broker in your jurisdiction. This can be difficult if you live outside of a rich country, but anyone can open an account on a crypto currency exchange such as Bitfinex, Poloniex, and Deribit.

Once you have decided which exchange you want to trade on and what your trading strategy might be (write it down or e-mail it to yourself), you will need to open an account and make a deposit to the exchange. In the case of a crypto currency exchange, all that you’ll need to disclose about yourself is a username/e-mail/password. Your account may be restricted in some ways (maybe deposit/withdrawal limits) unless you disclose more information, but an anonymous account is a possible way to start. Once your account is opened, you will need to make a deposit. You’ll need to navigate the process the exchanges provides to you.

After you’ve made a deposit, you can enter the market and make some trades. Whatever your goals might be, you’ll need to begin by be offering what you have deposited for sale, or putting up your deposited funds as collateral to make a trade. Let’s walk through an example using a deposit of bitcoins on Bitfinex.  The first thing you need to do is obtain some bitcoins, then you’ll need to open an account with Bitfinex and send those bitcoins to your Bitfinex account. Once your bitcoins are being held in your Bitfinex account, you can trade those bitcoins for another currency on the exchange. You can begin to offer to sell your bitcoins for ether on Bitfinex by finding the market for that pair, and viewing the current order book.

The order book for eth/btc on Bitfinex will show all the bids and offers for that pair. The bids are the amounts/prices that other traders are willing to buy, and offers are the amounts/prices that other traders are willing to sell. If you want to sell btc for eth, then you will place an order to sell, and join the offers. If the highest bid is 13 and the lowest offer is 14, then this means the market price will fall someone between those two prices. If you want to sell at the market, you can enter an order to sell your bitcoins at a price of 13 and this will result in a “fill” because you have taken your order “to the market” and “hit the bid”. If you decide that a price of 13 is too low, maybe you think a price of 13.50 is the price you want, then you can enter an order to sell your bitcoins for 13.50 and this will result in your order being the best offer, and make the current market 13 bid and 13.50 ask.  Your offer to sell at 13.50 will join the order book until which time another trader decides to make an exchange with you at this price.

As you can see, exchange prices do not arrive out of thin air. Prices are determined by the interaction of buyers and sellers, bids and offers. There is no central authority that determines prices in a free market on a fair exchange. There may be factors that can influence the decisions of traders, but they are still free to determine the prices they are willing to buy and sell for.

Continuing with the example above. If the current market is 13 bid and 14 ask, and you decide that your bitcoins are worth more than 14, you can enter an order for a higher price, at whatever level you decide. You can even offer to sell your bitcoins for 16, 50, 1,000, or any number, and your order will join the order book. If you choose to offer your bitcoins for sale at 20, your order will join the offer side of the order book until which time you cancel/change it or another trader buys your bitcoins from you at that price. Remember, if the market is currently 13 bid and 14 ask, traders will only buy your bitcoins at 20 when 20 is the best offer. This means that all the other offers in the order book between 14 and 20 must either be cancelled or filled, basically, the price must rise to 20 for your order to be filled.

At first, you might be confused by the functioning of a free market, but I think once you make some trades and see how an exchange operates, you will become more comfortable with the strategies that other trades and market participants discuss.

High Interest Savings Accounts Rates Update (2017/09/19)

Since Bank of Canada raised benchmark rates a few weeks ago, by this time, all the major HISA issuers in Canada have updated their corresponding rates. The average rate on a high interest savings account that can be purchased through the brokerage channel is now 0.95%. Yes, still less than 1%, but 10 bps higher than it had been before the Bank of Canada raised rates.

Click here to view current rates

The standout rate among those that I follow is Home Trust HISA which is currently offering 1.00%. This rate has dropped slightly and the spread between this rate and competitors has narrowed since Berkshire Hathaway took a position at the lender. Also, at the recent shareholders meeting to decide whether to issue more shares to Berkshire chose, the shareholders voted not raise more capital. This gives Berkshire more limited control of the company going forward, and also signals to the market that the lender has found better liquidity. This is also evidenced by the rate being offered on Home Trust HISAs.

How to trade bitcoins on QuadrigaCX

Now that you’ve opened and verified and also funded your QuadrigaCX account, you are ready to trade some Canadian dollars and US dollars for bitcoins and ethereum. This post will explain how to make a trade on cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX.

After logging into your QuadrigaCX account, choose the “Trade” tab from the main menu. When on the “Trade” menu, you will see the current order book displayed for the default market (btc/cad) with the bids displayed on the left side of the page and the offers displayed on the right side. Stacked on top of the order book are order entry modules that you can use to place your order.

If you are unfamiliar with how a market works and/or how prices are formed, the first thing you do is examine the current bids and offers. The bids and offers listed are orders from other users who have placed orders to either buy or sell at certain prices. For example, if you see a bid price of $4,000 CAD for 2 BTC, this means that someone (or a number of users) has placed an order to buy 2 bitcoins at a price of $4,000 CAD.  Oppositely, if you see an offer for 2 BTC at $4,010 CAD, this means that someone (or a number of users) has placed an order to sell 2 bitcoins at a price of $4,010 CAD.

The “price” of bitcoins is simply the last time that a bid or an offer was matched. If you want to buy bitcoins with Canadian dollars, then examine the offers. Using the example above, the lowest price offered is $4,010 CAD for 2 BTC. This means that you can buy up to 2 BTC at a price of $4,010 CAD. If you want to buy 0.10 BTC, and this price meets your objective, then go ahead and enter your order to make a transaction. Using the BUY side order entry module on the left side of the order book, enter a price of $4,010 and quantity of 0.10 BTC. As you enter your order details, you will see that the order entry module dynamically updates to reflect your inputs. This helps you confirm the price and amount you wish to enter.

Once you have input your desired price and quantity, and reviewed your order, simply press the “buy” button located within the order entry module, and your order will be sent to the market. If the current offer was $4,010 and you enter an order to buy at this price, your order will be matched and filled. This will mean you purchase bitcoins at this price.

Conversely, if you’d like to sell bitcoins, the same mechanics are used to sell, but instead of trying to pay the lowest price, you are trying to sell at the highest.

Maybe you’d like to buy bitcoins, but only if they reach a certain lower level. Maybe you’ve determined that a price of $3,500 is the highest price you are willing to pay. You can enter these details in the order entry module, and your order will be sent to the order book where it waits until the market falls to this price, or you cancel your order. This is called a “limit” order. From what I can tell, there is no time limit to how long orders can sit.

QuadrigaCX is the best place for Canadians to buy and sell bitcoins with the most liquid order book and the most stable deposit/withdrawal methods. Please use this link to open an account as it will mean some referral revenue for me 🙂

Crypto Credit Events

Crypto currencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum, are growing rapidly and the opportunities for profit are enormous. But these markets are also highly risky and investors using crypto currencies shoulder this risk. The situation should make risk management a main area of focus for crypto investors.

Risk in the crypto currency markets shows up in a variety of ways including many different forms of financial, tax and other operational risks. Much of the counterparty credit risk found in crypto currency markets comes from undeveloped crypto market infrastructure. We just don’t have the same plumbing in crypto currency financial markets as we do in fiat based financial markets. Fiat economies have developed the rule of law, deposit insurance, and credit ratings, but none of these these exist in crypto currency markets. Crypto currencies also don’t rely on any central authority, so dispute resolution is much more problematic, if not impossible. If your crypto currency wallet gets hacked, for example, you have little (or no) recourse to recover your loss.

Interestingly, the lack of financial market infrastructure also presents profit opportunities. Many financial services businesses operating in developed fiat economies could be replicated by clever entrepreneurs to crypto economies. The opportunities are huge.

Consider the cryptocurrency investor who makes a deposit on Bitfinex or Poloniex, and then lends their crypto currency to traders on the exchange in return for interest. How can this investor estimate the chances the exchange will remain solvent, and how can the investor estimate the chances of their account suffering a loss in the event the exchange gets hacked?  At present, there are very few ways to quantify the risks of such events. The crypto currency investor is left to rely on message boards, online posts, and a poll of their friend’s opinions. These methods are unscientific, and won’t give the investor reliable metrics they can use to make investment decisions. The average crypto currency exchange depositor simply relies on their own “gut feeling” along with some basic rules of thumb about portfolio management to make risk management decisions (don’t put all your eggs in one basket).

As far as I know, there doesn’t currently exist any method of obtaining deposit insurance for a crypto exchange or hosted wallet balance. In developed fiat economies, deposit insurance makes it cheap for consumers to assess the credit risk of counterparties, but the cryptocurrency world doesn’t currently have this same infrastructure. I believe that creating a rating agency for crypto currency credits is required for crypto currency finance to reach a more sustainable path.

One of my main goals as an investor is to better assess the creditworthiness of my cryptocurrency counterparties, and then use this information to make better investment decisions. As an investor, the degree of credit risk matters to me. Mostly all crypto currency investments have counterparty risk, but few ways exist to assess this risk. In fiat currency economies, we can rely on rating agencies, deposit insurance, and many different forms of information to make credit decisions. But this this same market infrastructure does not currently exist for most crypto currency finance.

To enlighten the market, the first step should be to define a credit event. When is a counterparty in default?  Below, I outline five categories of credit events: Bankruptcy, Acceleration, Default, Failure to Pay, and Restructuring.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy occurs when a relevant regulator declares the organization to be bankrupt.

Acceleration

Acceleration covers the situation, other than a Failure to Pay, where the relevant obligation becomes due and payable as a result of a default by a reference entity before the time when such obligation would otherwise have been due and payable.

Default

Default covers the situation, other than a Failure to Pay, where the relevant obligation becomes capable of being declared due and payable as a result of a default by the reference entity before the time when such obligation would otherwise have been capable of being so declared.

Failure to Pay

Failure to Pay is defined to be a failure of the reference entity to make, when and where due, any payments under one or more obligations. Grace periods for payment are taken into account.

Restructuring

Restructuring covers events as a result of which the terms, as agreed to by the reference entity and the holders of the relevant obligation, have become less favourable to the holders than they would otherwise have been.

By the above definitions, I believe it would be possible to achieve consensus on whether a credit event has occurred. The process of determining consensus could be done by a system of member voting and/or a pari-mutuel pool. The result of the credit event determination process could be used to settle derivative markets such as default insurance pools. These default insurance pools could in turn be used by market participants and credit rating agencies to help determine the creditworthiness of underlying entities. The pools themselves could also be used by both speculators and hedgers to manage their investment risk.

When the Yield Curve Predicts a Recession

Stock market investors should pay at least some attention to the yield curve. An inverted yield curve has signaled a coming recession many times in the post war era, and an inverted yield curve might be appearing again soon.

More often, the yield curve slopes upward, meaning, short term rates are lower than long term rates. Intuitively, “if one in the hand is better than two in the bush”, investors should expect interest rates today to be lower than future rates because of the time value of money when living with monetary inflation. When the yield curve is “inverted”, this means that short term rates are higher than long term rates.

An inverted yield curve represents many different things. It at least represents expectations about the future value of money.

I’ve been using a fun dynamic graph on stockcharts.com for many years, here is a link to the Dynamic Yield Curve.

Creating a Legal Will for Ontario

Many Ontario residents do not have written wills. Dying without a will causes headache for loved ones who then have to deal with unnecessary financial and legal administrative costs during a time when they could be grieving. For most of us, writing a simple holograph will is good enough. A holograph will is written in your own handwriting, dated, witnessed & signed by a couple of people and it outlines what you want to happen when you die. If you don’t feel comfortable with writing your own will, consult a lawyer.

Here is a checklist of items to address in your will:

  • date the will was made
  • who will be your executor?
  • what to do with your assets?
  • who looks after your kids?
  • who decides your personal (medical) care when you can’t speak for yourself?
  • how to access your digital accounts such as your social media accounts
  • communicate your intentions

First, date your will and if its more than 1 page, say how many pages the will is and put page numbers on each page (tip, if your will is more than 1 page, consult a lawyer). Start your will by stating its purpose such as “this is the last will and testament of xxx”. Name your executor by writing something like “I want my executor to be xxx”. Outline what you would like to do with your assets by saying something like “I would like my daughter xxx to be the beneficiary of my estate”. If you have kids, outline the person who will be the guardian of your children. It would also be good if you name someone in your will who will speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself, this is sometimes called a “living will”. This person will address your medical care while you are in a coma, and can be a different person than your executor.

After you’ve written and signed your will, it is important to communicate your intentions to those who have an interest in your estate. Make sure your executor knows about their responsibilities, tell the key people with an interest in your estate where your will is located, and make sure everyone who has an interest in your estate is up to date, this will reduce conflict. If the people with an interest in your estate are currently in conflict, try and resolve these conflicts as soon as possible.

For most of us without business interests, settling our estate is a simple administrative task. If you are married, it might help to hold financial assets jointly with your spouse. If you own a small business, make sure the business has a succession plan. Keep your will somewhere that is accessible to your heirs and/or your executor. That way, they can begin settling your estate in a timely manner.

If this sounds too complicated, consult a lawyer.