Digital Asset Entanglement: Unraveling the Intersection of Estate Laws & Technology
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"Against the backdrop of the blockbuster-movie worthy Quadriga case, potentially one of the most calamitous estate cases in recent history, Hartung and Zegel carve out, with forensic precision, the lessons to be learned by everyone and anyone involved in estate planning and settlement.”
Mark O’Farrell, BA, CLU, CHFC, TEP, CEA, President of The Canadian Institute of Certified Executor Advisors
From email and social media accounts, to digital memories and collectibles, to cryptoassets and smart contracts, a client’s online presence and digital assets are now a significant consideration in estate and succession planning. As Sheona McDonald, documentary filmmaker who recently released Dead Man’s Switch: A Crypto Mystery, explains in her introduction to this new volume, “Gone are the days of an elderly relative, friend or spouse passing and leaving you with the challenge of what to do with the silverware and good china. Now, even the simplest of estates can leave one with months or, more likely, years of work to do.” And that’s why the publication of this practical volume couldn’t be more timely.
Digital Asset Entanglement: Unraveling the Intersection of Estate Laws and Technology focuses on the ways technology has disrupted the traditionally paper-based estate industry and provides a practical client user personas based framework for global advisors and clients alike. Specialists in their field, the authors illustrate their proposed approach – as well as the importance of digital asset awareness and the challenges associated with managing digital assets – through a comprehensive case study of Quadriga Fintech Solutions, its cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX, and the estate of its late CEO, Gerald Cotten. The Quadriga bankruptcy trustee case provides a striking opportunity to educate and update estate advisors on the legal and practical technical management considerations surrounding digital assets. Using Quadriga as a backdrop, this text highlights the potential financial and emotional loss that results from digital assets being undisclosed, physically, or legally inaccessible, or if there is a protracted delay in administration.
In the digital age, digital asset awareness is now relevant to all advisors regardless of profession, jurisdiction, and industry as a client’s online presence and technological usage has accelerated and permeated many aspects of life. Clients will look to firms and organizations who are technologically savvy and have updated processes, practices, and tools that address a client’s intertwined online and offline lives in estate planning. As a result, Digital Asset Entanglement: Unraveling the Intersection of Estate Laws and Technology will be an important introductory reference and case study for a broad range of advisors looking to understand the new frontier of digital assets and address the downstream client implications to everyone associated with the estate industry:
- Estate lawyers, attorneys, solicitors, barristers, advocates, notaries, tax, and planning practitioners will use it as a valuable resource for managing digital assets in estate, succession, and business planning
- General planning advisors including tech entrepreneurs, service providers, and business owners, will refer to it when advising their clients about digital assets
- Financial, wealth management, insurance, investment, trust, gift planning, family office, advanced care planning, tax, funeral, succession, notary, and estate administration professionals will rely on the practical guidance for dealing with their clients’ digital estates
- Estate and legal industry educators looking for a case study as a basis of education, course work, panels, articles, conferences, or continuous education offerings such as CLE credits
- Law and business schools, and libraries will view it as an essential addition to their collection or part of the materials for estate and succession planning, business planning, estate administration, and technology courses or as component of a training curriculum to ensure awareness of this new digital topic
- Book Review: Digital Asset Entanglement: Unraveling the Intersection of Estate Laws & Technology – WEL Partners
- Book Review: Digital Asset Entanglement – Easeenet
- QuadrigaCX and the Estate of Gerald Cotten – Digital Planning Podcast
- A New Era in Estate Planning for the Digital Age – American Bar Association
- Dead Man’s Switch – A Crypto Mystery – Film by Sheona McDonald
- Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King – Netflix
- The Story Behind QuadrigaCX and Gerald Cotten, Netflix’s ‘Crypto King’ – CoinDesk
Table of contents
Chapter 1 – Quadriga and the Estate
§1.02 The Players
Chapter 2 – Orientation to the Legalities of Digital Assets
§2.01 Unpacking the Legal Stack
Chapter 3 – The Digital Glass House
§3.01 Technology in Estate Planning
Chapter 4 – Digital Assets Case Analysis Framework
§4.01 A Formalized Estate Administration Case Analysis Framework
Chapter 5 – Case Analysis Framework Applied to Quadriga
§5.01 Orientation to the Findings in the Quadriga Bankruptcy Case
§5.02 Findings: Step 1 – Creating a Digital Assets and Digital Devices Inventory
§5.03 Findings: Step 2 – Securing, Gaining and Tracking Custody of Digital Assets
§5.04 Findings: Step 3 – Discovering, Assessing Asset Valuation and Taxation
§5.05 Findings: Step 4 – Distribution Planning, Final Disposition and Beneficiaries
§5.06 Conclusions: Managing Beneficiary Expectations
Chapter 6 – The Digital Assets Clause
§6.01 The Case Documentation
Chapter 7 – Implications for the Advisor Using Client Personas
§7.01 The Digital Context
§7.02 Incapacity Planning and Administration
Chapter 8 – Conclusions
§8.01 Uncovering the New Frontier of Digital Assets in the Estate Industry
§8.02 Quadriga Case Conclusion is a Starting Point for Discussion
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