Protect Yourself from Legal Threats
Protecting yourself and the Cryonics Institute from hostile legal threats
What can you do to that might increase the likelihood that your wishes are followed by family or loved ones after you are legally deceased? When you can’t speak for yourself and your wishes can be distorted or twisted in directions you may never have intended, what is your recourse? How can you increase the likelihood that next of kin will respect your estate plans and not try to sue your cryonics provider or force you to be buried or cremated?
CI cannot provide you with legal advice, and the laws governing wills and inheritance vary from state to state. But the following are some ideas that you might want to consider and discuss with your attorney.
One possible approach is to remove any potential profit from dishonoring your wishes or from bringing suit against your Cryonics provider. The funds in your estates can be a big incentive for a next of kin to try to avoid your cryonic suspension. Even if your relatives say they will honor your wishes while you are alive, history has shown that some relatives of CI patients change their minds once they consider the money that they could gain if they stand in the way of your cryonics suspension. The CI non suspension rider provides several options that you may consider which could reduce these incentives. One option is for you to redirect insurance proceeds or other assets to the family if you are not suspended. This may seem reasonable since many members ask themselves why they should give CI money for a suspension that has not taken place. However, this could create an incentive to block your cryonic suspension. So there are 2 other options provided: Leave the money with CI for another family member who seeks suspension or simply leave it as a donation to CI. CI is a nonprofit and no one personally gains from these donations.
Another option to consider is to provide in your will that any family members who interfere in any way with your suspension, litigate against CI or who fail to fully cooperate with your suspension (including prompt notification of CI when death is near and the other steps spelled out in CI’s Next of Kin Agreement) are disinherited.
This could effectively incentivize cooperation and disincentivize hostile behavior.
Virtually all lawsuits thus far levied against cryonics organizations have involved next of kin seeking money under the guise some other nobler cause.
Here are some additional thoughts to consider:
1. Be open and clear about your wishes so next of kin know where they stand ahead of time. Take the time to discuss this with your next of kin.
2. Make sure the relevant documents are made available for your cryonics provider, your attorney and your next of kin so there is a clear record of these wishes.
3. Consider removing hostile or nonsupportive next of kin from control of your estate and your remains legally in advance of your legal death so that hostile people can be disempowered from making decisions you might otherwise disagree with. Consider using an attorney or other pro cryonics person to manage your estate and disposition of remains. You might use a video tape to document all of your wishes in advance. Such a video can be stored with your cryonics provider or with your attorney.