How the Rise in Assisted Reproductive Technology Affects Your Estate Plan


Recently, Apple and Facebook made national headlines for their offer to pay for egg freezing services on behalf of any interested female employees. Although giving women more control over their fertility can be seen as a positive step toward gender equality, the growing popularity of egg freezing does present a few unique estate planning issues.

For estate planning purposes, heirs are traditionally defined as people who are genetically, biologically, or legally related to you. With assisted reproduction, there becomes a much higher probability that you will have heirs who do not fall under these traditional definitions.

Without careful estate planning, you may find that someone you wished to include as an heir has been inadvertently excluded, while someone who you had no intention of including has been allowed to share in your estate. To protect yourself, consider talking to your adult daughters and/or granddaughters to ask if they've frozen their eggs or have plans to do so in the future. Explain that your concern is not over a desire to become a grandparent or great-grandparent, but rather to recognize that all your potential heirs are treated fairly in your estate plan.

Online estate planning documents do not allow you to change the definition of children or grandchildren to make allowances for those born via assisted reproductive technology. You will need to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to customize your estate plan so it includes a section in your will or trust that covers beneficiaries who may be conceived in the future.

Many grandparents make saving for a grandchild's future educational expenses a priority in their estate plan. This is often done through a 529 plan, but you can't set up a plan for a beneficiary who has not yet been born. Instead, you must designate someone else as a temporary named beneficiary. In most cases, this would be the child's parent.

How Can We Help?

If you are in need of legal representation relating to an estate planning issue, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our experienced Pasadena estate planning lawyers can help you evaluate your options and create an estate plan that best addresses your specific concerns.