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How cryogenic egg preservation affects estate planning

Michigan law regulates inheritances and the disposition of the estate after death. Issues relating to the descendants of the testator are regulated, as most citizens know. Fewer are knowledgeable about the complexities added to the law by in vitro fertilization and frozen eggs. Now that more services are available to remove human eggs from the female ovary and cryogenically preserve them, and some major companies are offering these services free to their employees, it is important to review the laws surrounding descendants that are not biologically or even genetically related to the testator.

One hypothetical example involves the child of the person planning the estate. If a married female child were to have her eggs preserved cryogenically and die without giving birth to a biological child through natural means, then it is possible that her eggs might be given to her husband as part of her estate. If that widowed husband were to marry again, fertilize the eggs and procure a surrogate to bring them to term, then there may be serious questions about who the ensuing child would be eligible to inherit from.

Experts on the issue advise caution at this time. There is no certain way to predict what fertility technology may be able to accomplish in the future. As such, experts advise benefactors to discuss the issue with any possible beneficiaries who may utilize technology such as freezing eggs and to make specific provisions in the will that clearly outline the testator's feelings on these issues.

Issues relating to wills and estate planning decisions may benefit from the helpful input of a lawyer. The lawyer might be able to highlight unfamiliar provisions in the law and help to avoid costly mistakes.

Source: Forbes, "How Freezing Eggs Can Affect Your Estate Plan", Joan M. Burda, December 10, 2014

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