Re: Defining Death: wills & estates

Date: Sat Jun 24 2000 - 10:02:08 MDT

In a message dated 6/21/00 1:45:42 AM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> This brings up some interesting estate planning questions. What if a person
> wanted to set up a trust for himself, to be maintained until such time as
> he's either dead or resuscitated? There could be a long time span in
> between the time a person becomes deanimate and the time he either dies (by
> Max More's definition) or is resuscitated. Under today's law, a person
> can't be cryonically suspended until he's pronounced legally dead, and any
> trust he sets up will be subject to the rule against perpetuities.
> So what are people these days doing to make sure they're not paupers when
> they're resuscitated?

As usual, Bonnie, you're asking the right questions. The rule against
perpetuities (RAP) ought to be an insurmountable problem in creating a trust
that can hold a suspended person's assets pending her revival. Jim Halperin
(author of "The First Immortal" and "The Truth machine") has told me that
he's found a way around this under the law of some western state (Montana?
Wyoming? - Can't recall), but I haven't followed up with him to try to get
details. If my rusty memory of the law of "gifts and stiffs" serves me, the
RAP would invalidate any attempt to create such a trust ab initio; not just
from the point in time in the future from which validity is measured under
the RAP. So you couldn't even create such a trust hoping to be revived
before the RAP cuts in.

Presumably a corporate entity could be created that would be managed by
living cryonicists with what amounts to an implied trust in favor of
suspendees. In effect that is what is done with Alcor's legal structure,
although this is aimed only at supporting the suspension infrastructure.

Ultimately, I think that current and near-future suspendees will be depending
on the good will of like-minded "animate" persons if they are resurrected in
the relatively near term. Considering the common values held by most
cryonicists, I think this is probably a sufficient "safety net". Suspensions
in a much farther future - or in some wildly transformed, post-singularity
world - are more difficult to imagine in SO many ways, that personal finances
are just one of the imponderables!

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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