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20th-century estate planning concern for some: virtual currency

Imagine how you would feel after a loving parent has passed away and you suddenly realized that, notwithstanding mom's or dad's incessant infatuation and endorsement of so-called "virtual currencies" during life, there is no evidence to be found of any such property in estate documents or elsewhere?

Might that make you just a bit concerned?

Here's a quick story regarding Bitcoin, which is the best known of all virtual (also called "crypto") currencies. Reportedly, one Bitcoin developer and early enthusiastic parted with 10,000 units of that currency for a mere two pizzas several years ago, just to show doubters that bitcoins actually commanded some commercial value.

The reported value of the currency today is … $45 million.

So, if it seems apparent that mom or dad has some entrepreneurial drive and has researched crypto currencies to the point of making purchases, it would certainly be a positive thing for that property (bitcoins are deemed property rather than currency by the IRS) to be recognized and accounted for in the estate planning realm.

Candidly, and absent timely and proactive efforts to promote that goal through discussions with a proven estate planning attorney and the implementation of a suitable administration strategy, that is sometimes easier said than done.

And here's why, notes a recent National Law Review article on estate planning and virtual currency: Bitcoins and other crypto currencies "can be held offline, and even anonymously, making it difficult or impossible for fiduciaries to discover."

That could be catastrophic in some cases, obviously, especially where holdings are significant and existing in an environment marked by the progressive acceptance of virtual currencies.

Individuals or families with planning-related questions or concerns regarding this relatively new asset entry can address them with an experienced estate administration attorney.

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The Law Offices of Kimberly Butler Rainen
21 Central Street
Andover, MA 01810

Phone: 978-494-6730
Phone: 978-409-1928
Fax: 978-849-8212
Map & Directions

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We are in a 1700s Colonial located on the intersection between Brook Street, Central Street and Essex Street in historic downtown Andover, Massachusetts. The parking lot entrance is located on Brook Street, which is a one-way. From Central, turn down Essex Street. Before reaching the railroad tracks, when you see the St. Augustine Church on your right, take a sharp left turn on to Brook Street, which will turn you back toward Central Street. As you ascend the hill back toward Central Street, you will see large stone pillars on either side of the entrance to our parking lot. We have assigned parking spaces numbered 7 and 10.

From the parking lot, you may take the stairs located on the rear, left-side of the building up to the garden area, where the foyer entrance to our office is located. You can also follow the sidewalk on Brook Street up to Central Street, walk along Central Street past the main house entrance (with a wrought iron gate across the walk way) to an opening in the wrought iron fence, in to the garden area where the foyer entrance to our office is located.