Cryptocurrency Can Create Probate Challenge

Jun 11, 2018 | Estate Planning, Probate

Estate of heir to Mellon fortune is example of challenges created by cryptocurrency.

Matthew Mellon, who inherited $25 million from the Mellon banking fortune when he was 21, recently passed away at the age of 54. The problems created by cryptocurrency are good examples of the importance of having a carefully structure plan for large inheritances, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in “Matthew Mellon’s Cryptocurrency is Being Held in Probate.”

At some point, Mellon became heavily invested in cryptocurrency, which eventually made him a billionaire. At the time of his passing, his cryptocurrency holdings are believed to be worth around $100 million. However, the problem is that cryptocurrency can be extremely volatile.

Since his passing, Mellon’s holdings have already fluctuated more than 30% in value. To get the holdings, however, his estate first must go through probate.  This would ordinarily take a long time in this case. The estate is seeking permission to sell the cryptocurrency now, in case the value of the holdings crashes.

Mellon presents another cautionary tale as well. If you have a lot of cryptocurrency, you should make estate plans that do not require cryptocurrency to go through probate.

An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances and may include cryptocurrency.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (May 20, 2018) “Matthew Mellon’s Cryptocurrency is Being Held in Probate.”