July 14, 2022
How Assisted Reproductive Technology Impacts Your Estate Plan | Michigan Will and Trust Lawyers
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is any fertility treatment involving the handling of embryos and eggs. The most common types of ART are in-vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, and cryopreservation. Surrogacy is another ART arrangement that involves a woman carrying someone else’s baby until birth.
ART is helpful for anyone with fertility issues. It can also store genetic material to use later and avoid passing on genetic risks to the child. Same-sex couples benefit significantly from reproductive technology when they want to have children together.
Wills and Revocable Living Trusts
If you have kids who were born using assisted reproductive technology and want to include them in your estate plan, you should create or amend your will or revocable living trust immediately.
Many state laws allow any child born after one parent dies but conceived before that parent’s death to receive an inheritance. With ART, it’s possible to conceive a child after one of the parents passes away.
Posthumously Conceived Children
Again, laws vary depending on the state in which you reside. Laws in some states consider “posthumously conceived children” to be kids conceived within 36 months after the death of a biological parent. They are counted as heirs if the parent left documentation of their intent to consider the child their heir before they died.
Some states might reduce the accepted timeframe to two years. Other states prohibit posthumously conceived children from receiving an inheritance if the deceased parent hadn’t named them as a beneficiary in their will.
While drafting your estate plan, including any posthumously conceived children is vital. You could inadvertently prevent them from receiving an inheritance from you if you don’t name them in your will or trust.
Most states allow surrogacy, but not all. You should check the laws in your state to determine whether you can have children through surrogacy and how to handle your estate plan.
State law might require naming a guardian for minors before finalizing a surrogacy agreement. As a parent, you should complete the process of establishing parentage so you can leave your assets to your heirs.
It’s a good idea to create a written agreement regarding the custody and control of genetic material used for assisted reproductive technology. You need to adequately prepare for unforeseen circumstances, such as divorce or death.
If you use cryopreservation, you might decide you want your spouse or partner to have access to your genetic material if you pass away before you can use it. If the purpose of using your genetic material is for posthumous conception, you must specify your intentions in your estate plan.
Storing genetic material can be a significant expense. You should consider leaving funds for the intended party to use when you pass away. That way, they don’t have to worry about the cost of conceiving a child through ART.
If you want to learn more about creating a comprehensive estate plan that includes children conceived by assisted reproductive technology, contact our Michigan will and trust lawyers immediately. It’s crucial to include specific instructions regarding ART to protect your children’s rights, and we are here to guide you through that process. Contact us at 844-885-4200> to schedule an initial consultation.
Join our Weekly Wisdom Webinars
Estate Attorney and Advisor Chris Berry of Castle Wealth Group answers questions on retirement and estate planning every Wednesday at 1pm www.wisdomwebinar.com to register or give our office a call at 844-885-4200.