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Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Estate Planning for the Cryogenically Frozen Client

Simon cowellFormer “American Idol” judge, Simon Cowell, recently told GQ magazine that he wants to be frozen when dies, with the hope that science will advance enough to where he can be unfrozen and live again. Cowell is not the only person considering cryogenic freezing after death. The ALCOR Life Extension Foundation in Phoenix, Arizona already has 100 frozen patients, with almost another 1,000 on the waiting list. But with the possibility of “coming back from the dead” comes issues of paying for the body’s upkeep and preserving assets for if or when the patient is unfrozen.

ALCOR currenlty charges $90,000 for freezing the entire body and requires another $110,000 in a trust for maintenance and storage. As far as providing financially for the patient after he or she is unfrozen, some attorneys point to dynasty trusts. Peggy Hoyt, and estate planner in Florida, drafts “personal revival trusts” specifically designed for cryogenically preserved clients. The trust allows intermediate beneficiaries like family and charities to inherit if something goes wrong and allows for payments to the cryogenic facility.

Regardless of an estate plans’ sound structure today, however, the changing laws of estate planning may make any plan obsolete by the time the patient is unfrozen. When asked her thoughts on preserving assets for a cryogenically frozen client, Pepperdine Law Professor, Kris Knaplund, said “who knows what things will be like in 300 years. If you created a trust for specific purposes in 1711, it is unlikely it would function in the same way today, even if you might have wanted it to.”

Scott Martin, Simon Cowell’s Cryogenic Goals Test Limits of Conventional Trust Planning, The Trust Advisor Blog, Sep. 4, 2011.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2011/09/estate-planning-for-the-cryogenically-frozen-client-.html

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