Estate planning: Genetic material and assisted reproduction

An increasing number of Americans are choosing to conceive with the help of assisted reproductive technology. The stakes of such a choice seem fairly straightforward at first glance. An individual or couple opts to either use their own genetic material, another’s genetic material or a combination in order to get pregnant. After the individual or couple has had as many children through that process as he, she or they wish, the remaining material is either stored or disposed of according to various state laws.

However, the stakes of this arrangement also become a matter of estate planning as soon as any genetic material is harvested or otherwise invested in. It is possible that one or more of the parties invested in any given genetic material could perish before all planned pregnancies are complete. In addition, any material stored after the conclusion of these pregnancies also becomes a matter for one’s estate planning.

Each state has distinct laws related to assisted reproductive technology, ownership of genetic material, storage of said material and estate planning considerations concerning this material. As a result, it is imperative that individuals or couples who wish to harvest or otherwise invest in genetic material for the purposes of procreation speak to an experienced local Torrance estate planning attorney as soon as they begin the process.

Failure to consider this genetic material in your estate plan could lead to serious and unintentional consequences related to the storage, ownership transfer and use of this property. Please act promptly and in accordance with local estate planning laws related to this material as soon as you begin an assisted reproductive process.

Source: Forbes, “10 More Estate Planning Questions That Might Make You Squirm,” Deborah L. Jacobs and Wendy S. Goffe, June 6, 2013

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