Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) September 26, 2014 – Prospective parents using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) should use estate planning as a tool to legally protect both the future of their unborn children and their own genetic material.
“Although it may seem like an uncomfortable discussion, it can actually be a simple one,” remarked Michael Gilfix, an estate planning attorney. “A good estate planning attorney can lay out the legal questions surrounding ART, and he or she can help draft solid legal protections for all involved.”
The use and disposition of stored genetic material will need to be considered from a legal perspective. If one of the partners dies or becomes incapacitated, it can be unclear who takes charge of the stored material and whether it can be used. A straightforward legal document covering this issue can help avoid challenges from other family members.
Other questions surround the legal parentage and inheritance status of any child that is posthumously conceived. For example, if a parent has not created a specific provision in a will or estate plan, a posthumously conceived child must meet strict California requirements in order to be given the rights of an heir. The use of an estate plan can help ensure that current and future children are provided for according to their parents’ wishes.
Estate planning can also give rise to other opportunities to plan for a future child. As the American Fertility Association has pointed out, a prospective parent may use his or her estate plan to indicate how and when a family member or friend should talk to the child about how he or she was conceived.
Gilfix points out that although many couples may have discussed some of this information with a doctor, information indicated in a medical setting may not hold up to legal challenges. He encourages all prospective parents using ART to sit down with a lawyer to, at the very least, discuss the issues at hand.
Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP
2300 Geng Rd., Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Telephone: (650) 493-8070
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