21st Century Estate Planning and Administration: Blockchain, CRISPR, and ART Post-Death

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Course Description

This program was recorded on July 31st, 2018

During this presentation, attorneys will learn about key estate planning and estate administration topics that were previously considered fantasy.

Blockchain. Bitcoin, which is the most popular digital currency, was introduced in 2009. With other digital, or “cryptocurrencies,” Bitcoin has established an actual marketplace, though it continually experiences peaks and valleys and still suffers from skepticism and rejection. However, Blockchain, which is the platform that stabilizes digital currencies has experienced far less rejection and skepticism and is perceived to be more valuable and credible. Blockchain technology and digital currencies will likely be estate assets that attorneys must be familiar with to be of value to clients now and in the coming years. Assisting clients with estate planning and estate administration requires us to have more than a fundamental understanding of their assets, especially those that have an established marketplace.

Cryonics and the disposition of remains. Technological advances now allow individuals to not only freeze tissues and organs but also freeze their entire body. Additionally, advancements in genome research, such as CRISPR, create the potential for a high quality of life after thawing possible. Still, what if, as in recent months, the tank fails? What are the fiduciary responsibilities if that happens or upon reanimation? An estate planning attorney whose client is interested in being cryonically preserved must comprehend the statutory interplay among laws related to more than medical Advanced Directives and DNRs.

Posthumous-Conception. Because of the implications of Alternative Reproductive Technology (“ART”), within the last several years, estate planning attorneys have begun including provisions addressing genetic reproductive material storage and use or prohibitive use of such materials post-death. Certain states have enacted statutes to guide families in this area and, hopefully, avoid administrative disasters. Attorneys working with these clients must probe the most intimate corners of clients’ lives to help them create a plan unique to their personal circumstances while the attorney also seeks to avoid potential malpractice claims.



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  • Max Elliott
    Max Elliott, Managing Attorney and Founder of The Law Offices of Max Elliott, Ltd., is a licensed, Illinois estate planning, estate administration, and wealth preservation attorney. Her firm focuses on unique families and women small business owners, and services include estate planning for taxable and non-taxable estates, estate administration, and advising small businesses in start-up, growth, restructuring, and succession planning phases.

    On behalf of her firm, Ms. Elliott is also General Counsel for the Bernie Mac Foundation, Inc., a private non-profit foundation, and spearheaded the organization’s most recent restructuring.

    Ms. Elliott routinely speaks to lawyers, students, and community groups on the intersection of estate and retirement planning; small business essentials, including legal entity selection, Intellectual Property rights, succession planning, and generational wealth transfers; and fiduciary selection and other protective measures for seniors and the LGBTQ community.

    Contact Max Elliott
      • 2 General Credits
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      Each On-Demand course is available to you for 1 year from date of purchase. Additionally, CLE credit is only available within that year.
    1. Learn about Blockchain and cryptocurrencies and their overall legal implications
    2. Determine how digital currency technology should be legally referenced, held, valued, and transferred in estate plans and estate administration
    3. Identify fiduciary duties with respect to cryo-preserved clients
    4. Comprehend the additional legal responsibilities attached to all parties and become familiar with statutes governing property, decedent remains, and the legal questions regarding frozen tissue versus dead tissue
    5. Consider estate planning in the context of virtual representation statutes and the tension and challenges created by advances in technology

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