Although it is a controversial subject, the practice of posthumous conception is growing more common. Posthumous conception involves using the frozen sperm or egg of a deceased person to conceive a child.
Because more and more people are using fertility clinics to assist with conception, there are more available eggs and sperm to use. Coverage of the practice usually focuses on isolated incidents. However, it is not always clear how many people support the idea and would not have a problem with their widows or widowers having a posthumous conception.
The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog reports in "How the Brits View Posthumous Conception" that a survey in the U.K. recently found that the majority of British people would approve of a posthumous conception.
While a survey in the U.K. does not necessarily mean that people have the same view in the U.S., quite often U.K. and U.S. views are closely related. If the practice of posthumous conception becomes more common and receives more popular support, the implications for estate planning could be enormous.
Estate laws generally assume that when a person passes away, all of his or her children have either been born or will be within in nine months, in cases where a widow was pregnant at the time of her husband's passing.
On the other hand, posthumous conception can occur several years after a person passes away. This will present challenges for estates that have been settled and for courts that will have to determine whether the posthumous children should receive a share of an already settled estate.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Feb. 7, 2017) "How the Brits View Posthumous Conception".