Friday, March 3, 2017
Michael Austin recently published an Article entitled, Virtual World, Real Money: Estate Planning Considerations for the Online Gamer, 9 Est. Plan. & Community Prop. L.J. 85 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:
This comment aims to address potential issues inherent in estate planning for digital assets, and it poses a series of questions that estate planners may use to gain a better understanding of their client’s virtual assets. But, before this comment can explore the intricacies of virtual economies in today’s games, a brief history of online gaming is necessary.
To begin, this comment will present a history of online gaming to lay a foundation for understanding online gaming’s evolution to its current state. The comment will then turn to briefly discussing recently reported, notable transactions in online economies to give examples of situations in which estate planning may benefit the purchasing gamer. Next, this comment will outline the approach that current state laws take to handle digital assets from an estate planning prospective. This comment will then argue that, in lieu of these laws, estate planners must pay special attention to the emergence of online gaming economies, which can yield considerable wealth for their clients. With these state statutes in mind, this comment will propose legislation that any state could adopt to account for the influx of virtual wealth throughout the video gaming community. Finally, this comment will propose a series of questions that can help an estate planner prepare to handle the various digital assets that a client may possess.