Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Could You Live Forever? Humans Will Achieve IMMORTALITY Using AI and Genetic Engineering by 2050, Expert Claims

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-20/6826a66f-caa0-4460-84a8-2f46d7b8a51c.pngThe great bane of the human condition has always been the ever-increasing disparity between the mind’s continuing evolution paired with the body’s painful degradation and decay. What could we have done at age 20 with the experience and wisdom we now possess? According to Dr. Ian Pearson, this age-old problem may not be an issue in the future. No longer will the old and weary, those who’s tongues forked no lighting, need to rage against the dying of the light. Pearson predicts that by 2050, improvements in genetic engineering may grant humans near-immortality by reversing or reducing the ageing of cells. Pearson commented on these possible advances: “There are quite a lot of people interested in living forever. There always has been, but the difference now is tech is improving so quickly, lots of people believe they can actually do it.”

See Joe Pinkstone, Could You Live Forever? Humans Will Achieve IMMORTALITY Using AI and Genetic Engineering by 2050, Expert Claims, DailyMail.com, February 19, 2018.

February 20, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Forbes' First List of Cryptocurrency's Richest: Meet the Secretive Freaks, Geeks and Visionaries Minting Billions from Bitcoin Mania

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-02-14/fc15fd77-414b-4400-907a-9ba1033b9fd2.pngMatthew Mellon, a banking heir who saw his $2 million investment in XRP, Ripple's cryptocurrency, explode into a billion dollar fortune, learned first-hand the dangers associated with earning perceived easy money. The morning following a night of festivities at his Los Angles party pad, the 54-year-old says he discovered four individuals rooting around his home. Mellon did not file a report with police and guesses the unwanted intruders were after his XRP. Though they stole two cellphones and four laptops, they were not able to loot Mellon's cryto-fortune, which is carefully hidden in various locations. While not all of the individuals comprising Forbes's list of the most crytpo-affluent have such dramatic tales to tell, the incident serves to underscore the unique nature of both the crytocurrency boom and its beneficiaries. 

See Jeff Kauflin, Forbes' First List of Cryptocurrency's Richest: Meet the Secretive Freaks, Geeks and Visionaries Minting Billions from Bitcoin Mania, Forbes, February 7, 2018.

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

February 15, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

CLE on Software and Technology Tools for Estate Planners

0000000 CLEThe American Law Institute is holding a conference entitled, Software and Technology Tools for Estate Planners, which will take place on Thursday, February 15, 2018, via telephone seminar and audio webcast. Provided below is a description of the event:

Why You Should Attend

The complexity of an estate planning practice places great demands on your time and your intellect. Solo and small-firm practitioners may feel especially hard-pressed to provide competent planning documents absent some technological assistance.

How do you leverage technology to make sure you provide clients with high quality advice and planning? Hear savvy solo and small-firm estate planners share their experiences with cutting-edge software and technology and get tips to improve your practice.

What You Will Learn

Faculty will discuss technological products that enhance their productivity as well as improve the quality of their representation, including:

Document assembly

Practice Management

Cloud storage (including ethical considerations)

Presentation tools

Hardware

e-mail encryption (including ABA ethics opinions)

Have a question for the faculty? Send your questions to tsquestions@ali-cle.org. Questions submitted during the program will be answered live by the faculty. In addition, all registrants will receive a set of downloadable course materials to accompany the program.

Who Should Attend

Attorneys who practice in the fields of elder law and estate planning will benefit from this accredited ALI CLE program on Software and Technology Tools for Estate Planners.

February 7, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Assets on Ice, Cryogenic Estate Planning

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-31/41135357-53b7-4369-a7eb-b0422819bde4.pngDennis Kowalski is the president of the Cryonics Institute and a paramedic. The husband and father of three recently doled out $140,000 in order to cryogenically preserve his entire family after their deaths. The current process for cryogenic freezing requires the deceased patient’s blood to be entirely substituted with an antifreeze solution. The solution is designed to prevent dangerous ice crystals from forming in the body. After this, the client is placed in a cooling chamber with temperatures around negative 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Because these frozen individuals are legally dead, special planning is required in case their desired outcome, reawakening at some point in the future, is actually accomplished. One means to make sure a frozen individual does not wake up in a Star Trek-esque future with no money to enjoy space travel or exotic worlds is to draft a personal revival trust. With this type of trust vehicle, it is possible for cryonicists to retain their assets by adding themselves to the trust. Another possibility is a cryonics dynasty trust. This unique estate planning tool is specifically designed for those individuals who want to take their money with them as they undergo cryopreservation.

See Inna Fershteyn, Esq., Assets on Ice, Cryogenic Estate Planning, BrooklynTrustandWill, January 22, 2018.

Special thanks to Alexander Evelson for bringing this article to my attention.

January 31, 2018 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Chinese Scientists Clone Two Monkeys, Humans May Be Next

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-26/340907c1-8c3a-41f1-9dc8-a8106bb9c05a.pngChinese scientists have broken a technical barrier that increases the potential for human clones by successfully cloning a pair of monkeys. These scientists implemented the same techniques used to create Dolly the sheep over two decades ago. The pair of identical long-tailed macaques, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, were born six and eight weeks ago. Their entrance into the world represents the first time primates have been cloned from a non-embryonic cell. This feat was achieved through a process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer. This procedure entails the transfer of a cell's nucleus, DNA included, into an egg that has had its nucleus removed. 

See Reuters, Chinese Scientists Clone Two Monkeys, Humans May Be Next, Newsweek, January 25, 2018.

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

January 26, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Disso Queen Laura Wasser Launches Do-It-Yourself Divorce Website

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-26/83112ccb-ee5e-4e91-bfd9-8994a3dad370.pngLaura Wasser, a prominent and well-known celebrity divorce lawyer, launched a website yesterday that facilitates divorce at fairly reasonable costs. The website, itsovereasy.com, guides couples through the divorce process and helps them tackle difficult issues like property division, child custody, and child and spousal support. The starting cost is only $750. For an additional $750, users of the site can speak with a lawyer to help explain the process and resolve conflicts. The website also has YouTube videos that offer instruction to help navigate the process as well as referrals to financial planners, personal trainers, and counselors to help spouses rebuild their lives after the divorce is final.

See Disso Queen Laura Wasser Launches Do-It-Yourself Divorce Website, TMZ, January 25, 2018.

January 26, 2018 in Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Even Teenagers Need Estate Plans, Says Edelman

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-01-05/74046896-b77e-4b22-92eb-7b055c067106.pngRic Edelman, Edelman Financial Group founder, believes everyone over the age of 18 should have an estate plan: “It’s not about money; it is about the administrative aspects of a life.” These administrative aspects include virtual as well as physical possessions. Younger generations tend to lead a large portion of their lives in a virtual world. Social media accounts, to which parents may not have authorization for admittance after a child passes, can be more easily accessed by planning ahead of time. While this can be awkward, Edelman notes: “If the young adult feels uncomfortable revealing information to a parent, the information can be given to the attorney who does the estate planning with the condition it be opened upon death.”

See Karen DeMasters, Even Teenagers Need Estate Plans, Says Edelman, Financial Advisor, November 27, 2017.

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

January 7, 2018 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Estate Planning for Users of Assisted Reproductive Technology

"Well, it certainly looks like your DNA. How many times have I told you to wear gloves before touching anything?"Assisted reproduction generally refers to any means of conceiving a child outside traditional sexual intercourse. Collectively, such modes of contraception are referred to as “assisted reproductive technologies” (ART). Decades of technological advances in this field are forcing families to consider difficult issues related to the creation of ART children and the preservation of genetic material that could lead to the creation of ART children.

See Wendy S. Goffe & Kim Kamin, Estate Planning for Users of Assisted Reproductive Technology, Think Advisor, October 4, 2017.

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

January 6, 2018 in Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Strife After Death

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-28/1a979871-b8f8-4960-b4d8-3ea921ae2ec7.pngOnly one in every ten wills is ever contested. But, these odds increase dramatically when the decedent’s estate contains significant wealth. When high-net-worth individuals are laid to rest, friends and family begin to discover the inherent unfairness in the decedent’s final disposition of assets. In some cases, legal battles and fighting can tear families apart while the estate lawyers reap the benefit of the discord.

Baseball legend Ted Williams is an unfortunate paradigm of such post-mortem bickering. His will provided for his remains to be cremated and then scattered in the Florida Keys. His son and daughter from his third marriage presented the court with a signed note saying that their father wanted to be frozen in case scientific progress might someday bring him back to life. As of today, Williams’s severed head and body await reanimation in Arizona.

See Ian T. Shearn, Strife After Death, Financial Advisor, December 15, 2017.

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

December 29, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Woman, 26, Has Baby Born from Record-Breaking 24-year-old Frozen Embryo

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-12-20/0e41aec2-eeaf-4760-902d-f1640ef90f60.pngThe sweetly adorable Emma Wren was born to parents Benjamin and Tina Gibson on November 25th of this year. She weighed in at a svelte six pounds, eight ounces. Seemingly an ordinary baby, little Emma’s cherub-like appearance belies that fact that she originated from the oldest-recorded frozen embryo to successfully be implanted and to result in birth. The embryo from which she came was taken from her mother in 1992, when Tina Gibson was just a year-and-a-half old.  NEDC Lab Director Carol Sommerfelt commented on the joyful event: “It is deeply moving and highly rewarding to see that embryos frozen 24.5 years ago using the old, early cryo-preservation techniques of slow freezing on day one of development at the pronuclear stage can result in 100% survival of the embryos with a 100% continued proper development to the day-3 embryo stage.”

See Woman, 26, Has Baby Born from Record-Breaking 24-year-old Frozen Embryo, CBS Baltimore, December 19, 2017.

December 20, 2017 in Current Events, Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)