The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC
Trust options outstrip scientific advances for afterlife
People in California can make use of the flexibility of trusts to achieve many of their goals for after they pass away. While many people are aware of how trusts can be used to transfer funds to loved ones, support charitable contributions or establish ongoing support over generations, fewer may know that there are even more options that people can access by creating a relevant trust. For example, many people are interested in the idea of being frozen after death in the hopes that scientific technologies will later allow people to revived.
A revival trust or future income trust can set aside a portion of a person's assets to be managed by a named trustee, typically a professional, to allow it to be used in case of a future scientific advance. There is no official record of how many of these trusts have been created; after all, one of the advantages of a trust is its greater privacy. However, at least 400 people have used cryonics to be frozen after death.
While the trusts have been criticized for potential misuse by trustees to access the funds of dead clients, other lawyers have defended their use, even if there is no scientific advances to back up the theory. They emphasize that they are carrying out the wishes of their clients to protect those funds for the future. However, some noted that other potential beneficiaries may seek to challenge these trusts, especially if they were disinherited from a substantial estate as a result.
Trusts can also help people who want to achieve simpler goals of transferring their money to their loved ones in a private, secure manner outside the probate system. An estate planning attorney can work with people to develop a plan for their wealth and create the documents to make it a reality.