When developing an estate plan for couples who conceived a baby using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) there are two issues to deal with initially:
First, the estate plan should define the parents and descendants in legal terms and next, it should identify who has the legal control of the disposition of any frozen genetic material.
Defining parents may not be as easily ascertained as one may think. The language used must be very clear on whether parents are defined as biological, gestational (i.e. person carrying the child) or functional (person(s) raising the child after birth). This definition must be very clear and consistent throughout the estate plan.
This then lends itself to the question of whether a child can have more than two parents? Historically, the answer was no. Now however, take a situation like a same-sex couple who uses one partner’s sister to donate the egg so that there is a genetic similarity. Does the egg donor, who may also be closely involved in raising the child, constitute a legal third parent?
Maryland has not recognized sperm and egg donor parenting relationships like our neighboring District of Columbia.
It is more essential than ever that estate plans today consider each client’s unique set of circumstances and anticipate a wide variety of contingencies.
If you need complex estate planning arising from situations involving assisted reproductive technology, please call 443-470-3599 to schedule an appointment.