by Legacy Plan Apr 6, 2016
Summary: In today’s modern world, changes in society and advances in science have modified many things, including the definitions related to who is, or is not, a family member. To make sure that your estate plan carries out your objectives exactly as you’d want, it is important to go over your goals in deep detail with your estate planning attorney so that your planning documents can make sure that your wealth and belongings go to everyone you want to inherit from you, and no one who you don’t.
Modern technology has allowed people today to enjoy many extraordinary advantages that, in some cases, would have seemed (or actually been) impossible or only a few years or decades ago. For infertile families, the greatest benefit modern
technology has created is the ability to have children.
With the gift of children, however, comes certain additional complexities in estate planning. Whether it’s you or a loved one who’s considering assisted reproduction, it is important to make sure that your estate plan reflects this aspect
of your family dynamic.
Parents of children conceived through assisted reproductive technology are not the only ones who need to consider these issues. As a potential grandparent, you may need to engage in this type of planning. If your son or daughter has frozen
genetic material, you need to contemplate whom you want to take from your estate. This is done by making sure that your estate planning documents are very specific and include very specific definitions regarding who is (or is not) a member
of a group. In this case, you should discuss your desires with your attorney so that he or she can craft a definition of “grandchildren” that includes everyone you want to inherit from you, and no one you don’t.
People who are seeking to have children through assisted reproduction have a wide array of decisions they should reach and include in their estate plans. One scenario where planning is especially important involves the freezing of reproductive
material for future use. Many courts that have addressed what happens to this material have ruled that it is property, meaning that you can (and should) include directions in your estate plan indicating what should be done with it if you
die. Do you want it donated? Destroyed? Distributed to your spouse/partner to do with as he/she sees fit? These are obviously extremely personal decisions, so it’s highly important that you get your desires down in writing using your estate
Additionally, it is essential that your plan state how you want to approach any children who come from this assisted reproduction. For example, if you decide to freeze your fertilized eggs, then die before using them, and your spouse/partner
uses these fertilized eggs to have a child, what do you want this child to receive from your estate? In some states, a posthumous child conceived using your frozen genetic material can still inherit from you, even if he or she is born
more than 9 months after your death, as long as you state that preference in writing (and the child is born within certain statutory time limit).
This article is published by the Legacy Assurance Plan and is intended for general informational purposes only. Some information may not apply to your situation. It does not, nor is it intended, to constitute legal advice. You should consult with
an attorney regarding any specific questions about probate, living probate or other estate planning matters. Legacy Assurance Plan is an estate planning services-company and is not a lawyer or law firm and is not engaged in the practice of
law. For more information about this and other estate planning matters visit our website at www.legacyassuranceplan.com.