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Not so rare these days: Bitcoin questions in estate planning realm

| Sep 22, 2017 | Estate Planning, Firm News

The deep legal team at Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates, which serves clients across Arkansas from offices throughout the state, pays exacting attention to every estate planning concern communicated by those who rely upon our professional help.

And that includes bitcoins.

That might raise a few eyebrows, given that bitcoins and other so-called “virtual currencies” haven’t exactly risen to such prominence that they’ve dethroned cash as king for most consumers.

In fact, such currencies (which are actually denoted as property and not as cash by U.S. tax authorizes) continue to be regarded as complex and exotic by most of the general public.

But not unanimously so, by any means, with the popularity of virtual currencies steadily increasing in recent years. Although bitcoins were at one time close to worthless, a recent media piece on virtual currencies and estate administration tells the stunning story of a select number of coins being exchanged for two pizzas several years that would be worth approximately $45 million today.

The point: Virtual currency, just like a house, family-owned business, stocks, bonds, pensions and retirement plans, family heirlooms, memorabilia collections and other “I can see and touch it” assets is something real that needs to be properly identified and dealt with during the estate administration process.

One notable reality that underscores contemporary life in Arkansas and elsewhere is its high-tech nature and constantly expanding possibilities. Although something like bitcoins was close to or flatly unfathomable to most people just a few short years ago, virtual currency is freely traded globally and growing in popularity today.

As such, it is an asset that, where existing, needs to be accounted for in the estate planning process.

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