Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Inheritance in the Wake of Reproductive Technology

Test tubes

With the help of frozen sperm or eggs, it is possible children can be conceived after a parent’s death.  While this situation is rare, people should consider making provisions in their estate plans for children who do not yet exist. 

Although there are very few laws or cases related to reproductive technology issues, some do exist.  For example, New York courts have ruled that a posthumously conceived child could be considered a “descendant” and therefore eligible to collect income from a family trust.  Florida and California have enacted laws requiring a baby to be born within 36 month of the parent’s death to have inheritance rights.  Yet in the majority of the country, this area of the law remains a free for all.  “Any family that has banked sperm or eggs should make very clear, in writing, how those suckers should be disposed of; and if they do set up trusts for descendants, they should spell out very specifically whether posthumously conceived kids should get a piece of the pie.” 

See Matthew Helmer, Your Frozen Sperm Could Inherit Your Estate, The Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2014. 


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