Forget about if.
WHEN you’re revived after being cryogenically frozen, you are going to need money to live on.
Lawyers have just the things.
Call them revival trusts or personal revival trusts or future income trusts, for people who dream of a second chance at life via freezing and thawing, these frozen assets could be the way to go when they’ve gone and come back.
The way to go for people whose attorneys don’t think they have gone berserk when they make the trusts be drawn up.
“Some (lawyers) believe them to be “silly trusts for silly people,” said Chicago attorney Kim Kamin, one of the few never frozen experts on the revival trusts.
In phone conversations, emails, and a chapter in a new book on estate planning, Kamin described the ins and outs of getting money into and out of a revival trust for people when they are preparing to go into a cryogenic chamber and get out.
Revival trusts challenge the notion that death and taxes are certain.
On the tax front, there is a great deal of uncertainty, said Kamin in her chapter on revival trusts in “The Tools & Techniques of Estate Planning for Modern Families 3rd Edition” (The National Underwriter Company).
“It is unclear whether the IRS would treat a revived (person) as a new taxpayer,” explained Kamin.
To understand a revival trust, you need to learn a little legal and scientific lingo.
On the legal side, people and companies play three roles in the establishment and execution of a trust:
—The settlor—The person who wants to be frozen and unfrozen, directs an attorney to draft the trust and funds it.
—The trustee—The person or company responsible for the investments and distribution of the trust. Anyone can be a trustee from a relative to a friend to a business.
—The beneficiary—In the case, same as the settlor.
Here are a few terms that can help you understand the science on the underpinnings of revival trusts:
- Cryonics is the science of preserving bodies by freezing.
- Cryopreservation is preserving the body by placing it in liquid nitrogen at minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit. The preservation is accomplished by halting all normal activity of cells. Advocates claims the process could keep a body in suspended animation for decades or centuries.
- Cryostats are the chambers frozen humans (and sometimes pets) are kept in.
- Vitrification is the removal of most of the water in the cells when they are frozen, so the water doesn’t expand and tear them apart.
- Cryonic suspension is taking someone who is legally dead but biologically viable through the process.
“Legally dead but biologically viable” may seem an impossible contradiction but upon death many cells are still alive.
The two most prominent cryonics centers in the United States are the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona and the Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Michigan.
Cryonics Institute founder Robert Ettinger is credited with conceiving of the idea of freezing the deceased and bringing them back to life in 1962. He has been frozen for about five years.
Alcor had 122 men and 43 women cryonically preserved at the end of last year. The Cryonics Institute has a total of 173.
Alcor charges $ 200,000 while the Cryonics Institute has a fee of $ 28,000.
Dennis Kowalski, president of the non-for-profit Cryonics Institute, said he became fascinated with the possibility when he saw a discussion of human freezing and thawing on a TV talk show in the 1980s.
A Milwaukee paramedic in his day job, the 50-year-old Kowalski, his wife and their three sons: 15, 18 and 20 are signed up.
“None of us is under the illusion this is a slam dunk and guaranteed to work,” said Kowalski who added, “You don’t know unless you try.”
Kowalski describes the chambers the Cryonics Institute holds people in as giant Thermos bottles filled with liquid nitrogen.
He noted the cryostats are immune to failure from power outages because no electricity is involved, and the chambers are topped off with liquid nitrogen weekly.
It isn’t just entire bodies that are being frozen in hopes of reincarnation.
In his book Mind Children, Hans Moravec imagined idea of transplanting a human brain into a specially designed robot body.
Many lawyers find the trusts distasteful, Kamin does not.
“We should be respectful of our clients wishes,” said the attorney.
She recommended a revival trust include a termination date from 50 to 200 years, so it doesn’t last forever.
Kamin said it is also a good idea to let a family member have the ability to terminate the trust eventually.
Maybe not forget about if.
From landing on the moon to Dolly, the cloned sheep, science has brought to life the unthinkable.
But in this case, Kamin says it is highly unlikely
For one to be frozen, people have to pump you with toxic chemicals.
Which brings up a societal, as well as individual hazard.
“A very real concern plaguing the cryonics movement is the environmental cost of disposing of the chemical waste that cryonic preservation inevitably involves,” Kamin added.