Estate Planning in the Era of Digital Wealth
In the world of estate planning, few things have had as much impact as email and the internet. These technologies changed the way we interact both personally and professionally, allowing us to exchange ideas and value across borders instantaneously. As internet commerce and communication expanded, the need for secure and confidential information transmission grew, leading to the rise of cryptography and blockchain-based data networks.
Blockchain networks operate without a central server, relying on interconnected peers to verify the validity of data transfers and store transaction records. However, there is no clear incentive for unrelated peers on a decentralized blockchain network to expend resources to validate transactions. Cryptographically secured blockchain tokens, also known as cryptoassets or cryptocurrency, provide incentives for participation on blockchain networks.
Bitcoin is widely believed to be the first successful decentralized blockchain network with a secure token-based economic incentive model. Since its launch in 2009, Bitcoin has spawned an entire economy with thousands of cryptoassets and separate blockchains, with a global economy measured in trillions of dollars.
Estate planners must be familiar with cryptoassets and blockchain technology, as their clients may have wealth comprised of these assets. There are many unanswered questions regarding the treatment of these assets in estate planning documents, as well as transfer and valuation issues.
For further discussion of these topics, read the full article that appeared in the Estate Planning Magazine. It is a primer on digital assets and strategies for their transfer. As these technologies continue to evolve, they will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the fields of law and finance, emphasizing the importance of expertise in this area.
Estate Planning in the Era of Digital Wealth by Matthew T. McClintock, Vanessa L. Kanaga and Jonathan G. Blattmachr originally appeared in Estate Planning, a Thomson Reuters publication.
The following information is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or investment advice.View All Resources