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Science and the Impact on Estate Planning

Science may be making inroads in cryogenics with the idea of freezing a person's brain until medical advances allow a person to be brought back to life. So far it remains science fiction.

Ted Williams will not be coming back to life in the future but scientists are a step closer to being able to freeze a brain. After Williams passed away he had his head cryogenically preserved with the hope that someday scientists would later be able to bring him back to life with memories intact.

Unfortunately for Williams, scientists do not have a way to freeze a human brain that preserves the synaptic connections. The Huffington Post reports that scientists have now frozen a rabbit's brain in a way that preserves the synaptic connections in "Cryogenically Frozen Rabbit Brain Hailed As Scientific First."

This does not mean cryogenic preservation will be possible in the near future. It might never be possible. Regardless, it is interesting to wonder what it might mean for estate planning.

Currently, estate planning is done with the understanding that the dead do not come back to life. Thus, all of the deceased's property is given to others. However, if it is expected that the deceased will come back to life in the future, then might some of his or her property be retained?

What would the legal ramifications be? Who would keep the property in the interim and how long must it be kept while waiting for scientists to be able to revive the deceased in some form?

It is likely that science will have an impact on estate planning but it also likely that it is a long time in the future.

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