Value of Internet Domain Names in Estate Planning and Probate


Today, I saw an interesting article about the value of Internet domain names, especially as more mobile devices move to “apps” instead of Website–based services. The July 20, 2011, article was written by Austin Carr and appears in Fast Company magazine. The article suggests Internet domain names still have value—and a startup company might spend $50,000 or so to acquire the right name.

I’ve written several times about estate planning issues involving Internet domain names, including here and here. In a previous posting, I also mentioned that about 70 new Internet domain names are created every 60 seconds. Not all of these names will have financial value to third parties, but some of them could have surprising value, as mentioned in the article above.

For purposes of an inventory or estate tax return, it make sense for fiduciaries to get an appraisal of an incapacitated or deceased person’s Internet domain names from an appraisal service like Sedo or Afternic. But the best determination of value is still to auction or sell the domain name to a third party, if they are willing to part with it. The article above also links to a blog posting by Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist, and his posting makes some interesting additional points about how a startup company might value and acquire an Internet domain name.



Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Gray Plant Mooty | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.