ART and Estate Planning

In recent decades, an increasing number of people have built their families using assisted reproductive technology (ART), the best known example of which is in-vitro fertilization (IVF). With advances in technology, ART has become more and more successful at helping couples not only conceive, bring home healthy babies, and often .

If your family has benefited from ART, you’ve likely thought about estate planning for your children. What you may not have considered is the impact the use of ART should have on your estate planning.

Once upon a time, it was unheard of for a child to be conceived after its father’s death--or even after the death of both of its biological parents! Yet ART (including sperm, egg, and embryo banking) allows for that, and a number of other possibilities, that should be considered when making an estate plan.

Some things to consider when making an estate plan are:

  1. If you have banked gametes (eggs or sperm) or embryos, what should happen to them upon your death? If there are storage fees, how will they be paid? If your clinic has required you to sign forms addressing these issues, your estate planning documents should be consistent with them.

  2. If you were to die, but your spouse should survive, do you wish for him or her to continue treatment with ART? Bearing in mind that ART is expensive and often not covered by health insurance, how do you want it to be paid for?

  3. If your biological child should be conceived after your death, would you want the child to inherit from your estate? While “yes” might be the gut reaction, consider the impact this might have on your existing children and any other heirs.

Questions about children conceived using ART and their rights with respect to a deceased parent have even reached the The United States Supreme Court. In March 2012, the Court held in Astrue v. Capato that a child born via ART after a parent’s death is only entitled to Social Security survivor benefits if the child would be eligible to inherit from the parent’s estate under state intestacy laws (laws that govern inheritance where there is no valid will).

The first step to take is to speak frankly with your estate-planning attorney, explaining that you have used ART, and asking how that should affect your planning. Together, you’ll be able to explore various scenarios and plan for all contingencies.

If you have used or are considering ART, speak with an experienced Connecticut estate-planning attorney today. Contact Weatherby and Associates, PC at (860) 769-6938 to learn how we can help secure your family’s future.

Categories: Blog, Estate Planning

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