Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Controversial "Three-Parent Baby" Procedure Takes Off in Mexico

Three baby“Three-parent babies,” a new procedure offered to couples who want to reduce the risk of passing specific genetic diseases to their children, is a term that has drawn much attention from the public recently. The procedure has also been viewed as controversial because the embryo takes eggs from two separate mothers and transfers the nucleus from a mother’s egg to a donor egg that had its nucleus removed, which makes its ban in the United States unsurprising due to the potential spreading of defected mitochondria. Currently, Mexico, where medical professional believe they are on the vanguard of medical research, is one country that offers the procedure, possibly due to its weak regulatory framework.

See Jan-Albert Hootsen, Controversial ‘Three-Parent Baby’ Fertility Technique Takes Off in Mexico City, Fox News, April 18, 2017.

April 21, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bunkers for High Net Worth Clients

BunkerA new business is catering to high net worth clients and their emergency preparedness as they potentially face encroaching disasters and political uprisings. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Zuckerberg, and Ralph Lauren are taking their prepping way more seriously, with offerings such as bulletproof SUVs, safe rooms, and satellite communication equipment. Besides the natural hazards and acts of terrorism, cyber warfare is also pressuring high-net-worth individuals to opt for these defensive services and supplies. These wealth families view uncertainty and risk through a different lens than the average American. Specifically, emergency preparedness involves three steps: being informed, having a plan, and stockpiling the proper supplies.

See Thomas M. Kostigen, Bunker Time, Financial Advisor, March 21, 2017.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

April 18, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Bringing the Dead Back to Life

Digital tombstoneA historic Slovenia cemetery is now installing tombstones with interactive digital screens. The 48-inch interactive screens display pictures, videos, and other information relevant to the deceased person. Reportedly, the screens cost over $3,100 and have sensors that only illuminate the screen when they are being viewed, allowing them to save energy and blend in with the rest of the tombstones. So, is the world ready for technological life stories of the dead? As times change, burial traditions will strive to keep up with the technology, even if its users are not around to see the results.

See Erin Blakemore, Digital Tombstone Brings the Dead Back to Life, Smithsonian.com, April 13, 2017.

Special thanks to Vickie Sutton (Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.  

April 17, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Are You Prepared to Live Longer?

Long lifeToday, if you have the resources to stay healthy, Americans can expect to live longer, healthier lives and their overall quality of life to improve as they continue to age. So, what can you do to provide for a good quality of life as you age? The planning process should start now in order to take advantage of all the resources currently available. To jump start the process, you should meet with a financial planner, who will help you prepare for your financial future and implement your retirement goals. Next, you should focus on legal and estate planning, ensuring that your assets are distributed how, when, and to whom you want. Advances in healthcare make the odds of living a longer, healthier life more attainable for Americans, while the right planning will improve your quality of life.

See Mark Eghrari, You May Live Longer than You Expect: Are You Prepared?, Forbes, March 31, 2017.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

April 3, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Quest to Live Forever

Live foreverIf you could live to 200 and remain healthy, would you? The National Academy of Medicine’s Grand Challenge in Healthy Longevity is awarding at least $25 million for breakthroughs in the area of aging gracefully. For decades now, the idea that age could be twiddled with has consumed scientists, as they continue to transform death into a technical problem rather than a metaphysical one. Essentially, if we want to live longer, we must slow aging itself. Even then, we will not live forever; it is simply not possible with the rapid drain on natural resources and Social Security. So, the struggle between healthspanners and immortalists brings us into an age where preserving life, even at the cost of dying, is ever-so human.

See Tad Friend, Silicon Valley’s Quest to Live Forever, New Yorker, April 3, 2017.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

March 31, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Swiss Clinic Presents Assisted Suicide Simulation Video

Virtual assisted suicideA Swiss clinic, Dignitas, has created a virtual reality assisted suicide film, “The Last Moments,” that represents a person’s experience who wishes to accept the clinic’s services. Over the last two decades, hundreds of people have gone to the clinic to end life on their own terms. The film not only immerses the viewer in the assisted suicide setting, but it also allows the person to make a choice of whether to end their virtual life right then or carry on living. The film depicts two characters: a crying loved one and the woman who presents the viewer their final choice.

See Cheyenne MacDonald, What It’s Really Like to Die: Swiss Assisted Suicide Clinic Dignitas Reveals Harrowing VR Death Stimulator, Daily Mail, March 24, 2017.

March 26, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Self-Driving Cars Could Help Transportation Efforts for Aging Americans

Autonomous vehiclesSelf-driving cars might be a viable means of getting from place to place for older adults in the near future. Currently, approximately 16 million Americans sixty-five and older live in communities where the public transportation is poor or nonexistent. That number is expected to grow rapidly as the baby boomer generation continues to remain outside the major cities. Autonomous vehicles could be the key for closing this concerning mobility gap for an aging society, while automakers are vying in the race to reduce or eliminate the amount of time a person actually spends driving in a vehicle. However, there are several impediments that would need to be worked out, as the elderly understandably have a harder time adjusting to such technology. Accordingly, automakers should be aware of older drivers because if they do not trust the technology, the business will potentially slow.

See Mary M. Chapman, Self-Driving Cars Could Be Boon for Aged, After Initial Hurdles, N.Y. Times, March 23, 2017.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

March 24, 2017 in Current Events, Elder Law, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Tools for Elder Financial Abuse Are on the Rise

Elder financial abuse2Artificial intelligence, data, and virtual reality may become future tools for elder financial abuse. In the age of technology, elders rely on direct mail and telephone solicitation to become familiar with non-profits and give to charity, which means charity scammers can still easily defraud them. Further, with these new options, fraudsters will have intimate knowledge on how to appeal to the emotional triggers of elders. The potential for manipulation is huge.

See Ted Knutson, Al, Big Data May Become Tools for Elder Financial Abuse, Financial Advisor, March 22, 2017.

March 22, 2017 in Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 20, 2017

In a World Where Your Boss Is Half Your Age

Young bossToday, companies are looking to fill their management roles with people who are “digital natives,” normally millennials and Gen X-ers. All the while, baby boomers are staying on the job longer, and retirees are looking for a second act and rejoining the ranks. Consequently, these older generations will be answering to managers much younger than them. In fact, a recent study found that 38% of American workers had a younger boss. Further, research shows that older workers are less responsive to their younger bosses because it is difficult to adjust to such power rankings. Rightfully so, our technology-oriented society has made it more difficult for older workers to adapt to the ever-changing workplace flow. We just have to figure out how to make it work.

See Joanne Kaufman, When the Boss Is Half Your Age, N.Y. Times, March 17, 2017.

Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

March 20, 2017 in Current Events, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How Our Cells Can Teach Us About a "Natural" Death

Cells natural deahtWhat is a good death? Because our society has evolved into one with an abundant amount of life-sustaining technologies, most believe the answer is a “natural” death. When we consider a natural death, the vision represents one before the development of modern resuscitative technologies—so, perhaps a revolt again technology altogether. However, this definition of death by how medically involved it is may be shortsighted. One must imagine something even more elemental to truly understand what death is like stripped of its social context. There are three main mechanisms in which cells die—necrosis, autophagy, or apoptosis. In the cellular version, necrosis is considered a “bad” death, whereas apoptosis is considered a natural one. These three mechanisms represent life and death at a cellular level, creating a phenomena that is much more socially conscious than it is at a human level. Essentially, an appropriate death is central to the survival of an organism. Death, therefore, is not the enemy—it is the fear that death arouses. This fear forces us to make choices that defy the biological constraints of our existence, often resembling a fate like that of necrosis. So in order to have a natural death, or that of apoptosis, for the organism to survive, the cells must die and they must do it well because our cells understand that “life without death is the most unnatural fate of all.” 

See Haider Javed Warraich, What Our Cells Teach Us About a ‘Natural’ Death, N.Y. Times, March 13, 2017. 

 

March 15, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)