With technology advancing, we are seeing more and more families grow through the help of Assisted Reproductive Technology, or the use of various fertility treatments including IVF, artificial insemination, and surrogacy. There are so many scenarios in which people are using these technologies to get on the path to parenthood, and with these various pathways come other scenarios you may need to think about to protect your family’s future. Here’s why estate planning for ART families is so important.

Wills and Trusts

Whether you have an estate plan already or need to create one, it’s important to have a will or trust and have them updated to reflect potential children you may have. This is especially important in case of an unexpected death. If this happens, you don’t want to accidentally disinherit any children that may be born after you are gone. It’s also important to consider if you spouse may continue with any ART methods to conceive a child after you are gone. Making a plan for those children will ensure they are still able to inherit from you, even if a good amount of time has passed. If you are donating any of your genetic material to help someone else conceive, define in your plan whether or not that child would be able to inherit anything from you. They may technically be your biological child, but if you are in an agreement that removes you from parental responsibility, make sure that doesn’t change after your death. You will really want to define what “children” means in your will or trust to cover your potential children, or even children in generations to come. 

Planning for More Than Children

With Assisted Reproductive Technology, there are other factors aside from children that you may need to consider in your estate planning. Perhaps you have left over embryos or other genetic material. What will happen with these? Do you want a time limit to what your spouse may be able to do with your genetic material in case you pass? If you and your partner split, should your partner still be able to use the material to conceive? There are many scenarios to consider and talking through these can be difficult, but with technology advancing so quickly, the nuances and legalities also become more complex. 

Laws vary by state so it’s best to consult with an estate planning attorney in your area, some even specialize in this area and can help you go through all the scenarios and what best works for your family. 

If you are in Illinois or Wisconsin, we can help you with your estate plan! Contact us for a risk free consultation and let us see how we can help you.


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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.