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How do frozen eggs and fertility factor into estate planning?

When considering various estate planning options, many in New Jersey follow a similar path of the loved ones who have gone before. While there are many and varied virtues to be found in tradition, estate planning requires a far more forward thinking approach, especially in regard to advancements in medicine and technology. A prime example lies in the issue of fertility treatments, and how new approaches could create complicated genealogical lines.

Many readers may be aware that both Apple and Facebook recently announced that they will begin covering the cost for their female employees to freeze their eggs, should they choose to do so. This benefit is a welcome relief for many young women who want to advance their careers before beginning their families. However, the implications of such a choice can create a complicated estate planning scenario.

Should an individual have a daughter or granddaughter who is planning to freeze her eggs, it is necessary to consider how to address those future potential relatives within one's estate plan. For many, simply knowing that a future descendant is planned will spurn the desire to address the issue within the proper documents. There are a number of ways to provide for or exclude future descendants, and individuals can be as specific as need be.

It might also be a good idea to consider the various ways that frozen eggs might be used in the years to come. For example, should a daughter die and leave her genetic material to her husband, he could conceive a child through the services of a surrogate. This would present a unique challenge to traditional estate planning, and could lead to differences of opinion among one's heirs.

The most important thing for New Jersey residents to understand is that estate planning is not a simple, one-size-fits-all process. Fertility options are just one example of issues that can influence an individual's plans for distributing their estate. As with so many other topics of importance, families should discuss the matter in depth, long in advance of the need to access estate planning documents.

Source: Forbes, "How Freezing Eggs Can Affect Your Estate Plan", Joan M. Burda, Dec. 10, 2014

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