Estate Planning When Using Assisted Reproductive Technology

Gabriel Katzner - December 9, 2022 - Estate Planning
Adult couple visiting an Assisted reproduction doctor

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is any fertility treatment in which eggs or embryos are handled.

ART procedures generally involve stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs and then surgically removing the eggs from a woman’s ovaries.

The eggs are combined with the sperm in a laboratory setting, and then the eggs are implanted in the uterus.

ART treatments do not include ones in which sperm alone is handled, such as artificial insemination.

It also does not include a procedure in which egg production is stimulated without the intention of removing the eggs.

ART is a helpful fertility technique and can also be used to store genetic material for later use or to avoid passing certain genetic traits to the child.

Financial planning

As most prospective parents already know, the ART process can be expensive. Start financial planning as soon as you know you intend to use this fertility technique.

Having a financial plan can help reduce some of the stress and worry associated with this process.

Your financial plan can also extend until the child is an adult, considering the expected expenses for food, shelter, toys, and education.

Another important consideration for new parents is to choose a guardian for their child.

This is a tough question to ask yourself since it involves a scenario in which you can no longer raise your child, but it is very important to consider and legally name the person or people you want to step in for you should you die or become unable to care for your child.

As part of your estate plan, you will also consider how much money and property your child will receive and when they will receive their inheritance.

An estate plan is a living document that is updated as your plans change.

Planning for your genetic material

As part of the ART process, you and your partner may store your genetic material for future use.

While interviewing potential fertility clinics, reviewing the forms to see what happens to you or your partner’s genetic material if either of you dies is essential.

Options may include destroying the eggs, sperm, or embryos, donating them, or transferring ownership to another person you name in your documents.

It is also important to know what happens if you change your mind.

Posthumously conceived children

With ART, it is possible to conceive a child after one parent dies, using the genetic material from the deceased parent.

Many state laws allow any child born after one parent dies but conceived before the parent dies to receive an inheritance.

With the ART procedure, a child may be conceived and born after a parent dies. The right of a child to receive an inheritance in this situation depends on applicable state laws.

Potential factors to consider include how long after the parent’s death the child was conceived and did the deceased parent consent to the use of their genetic material.

How an Estate Attorney can help

Families, parents, and children are created in many different ways. Each family has a different meaning for these terms. A parent may be the biological, adopted, or gestational parent, or even the spouse of a parent.

A child could be a biological, adopted, or stepchild. You may consider someone your child, even though standard legal documents may not.

An estate attorney can help craft an estate plan to address your unique circumstances.

Custom language can alleviate confusion and clarify who you want to receive your accounts and property.

Your estate attorney can help you ensure that your estate documents clearly define that person as your child.

ART and other reproductive technologies may also change the definition of descendants.

Contact us

Contact us to discuss your family and parenting plans.

We can help you create estate documents that express your wishes in a legally enforceable way.

You can schedule a call with us or reach us directly at 855.631.3457 to learn more about how best to plan today to protect those most important to you.

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