InsightsInsight - Wills and Probate - POSTED: December 14 2016
How new developments in the scientific world could affect your will
The scientific world is constantly developing and new technologies, once previously deemed as science fiction, are fast becoming part of modern reality. It is therefore understandable that the law is often playing catch-up in trying to regulate the difficult ethical considerations that accompany many scientific developments.
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Cryogenics is one such technology that has recently hit the headlines as the High Court has allowed a 14 year old terminally ill child to be cryogenically frozen on her death. This means that she will be maintained in a frozen state until a decision is made to bring her back to life. Questions have now therefore arisen about the practical implications and repercussions when this occurs.
As things stand, when an individual dies their assets pass in accordance with their will or under the rules of intestacy. The individual no longer needs their assets so these are distributed amongst those still living. However, if individuals plan on being brought back to life they will no doubt need to ensure they have the necessary finances to fund their life, whenever this may be. The concept of “reanimation planning” may, therefore, need to become part of the legal and financial planning that an individual must undertake prior to the cryogenic process. It is unclear whether this will include freezing their bank accounts or setting up a trust for themselves in the future which raises a number of difficulties such as who will decide to revive them and manage their assets, bearing in mind the trust period is a maximum of 125 years.
There are a number of uncertainties surrounding cryogenic freezing and critical reform is vital if the law is to keep pace with the scientific world.
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