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The CDC reports that roughly 2% of infants born in the United States every year are conceived using assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Techniques for ART include fertility treatments in which both eggs and embryos are handled, including artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization, cryopreservation (genetic material frozen for later use), and surrogacy.

But how do these techniques factor in when you’re building your estate plan for your family? From our McHenry, Illinois team at Diamond Estate Planning, here’s everything you need to know.

Do we recommend using a basic internet form for your Illinois estate plan?

The short answer is no.

There are many different do-it-yourself options available when it comes to planning for your death or incapacity (the inability to manage your own affairs). 

An experienced estate planning attorney can walk you through each step to ensure your unique situation is being addressed.

Standardized boilerplate language for an estate plan won’t work if you are using ART to conceive a child. The definitions in many of these instances for “child,” “parent,” or “descendant” will need to be modified to fit your situation to ensure the correct people are provided for.

The term “parent,” for example, needs to ensure that your relationship is accurately described throughout your estate plan so that your child will receive everything you wish them to receive.

There are, in fact, several types of parents:

  • Biological or genetic parent – contributes their genetic material for the conception of the child
  • Adoptive parent – not biologically related to the child but granted the legal right to be the child’s parent through the adoption process
  • Intended parent – who will be raising the child once a surrogate has given birth to the child
  • Gestational parent – the individual who has carried the child for nine months and will or has given birth to the child

Similarly, the use of the term “child,” may need to be amended to include a biological child, adopted child, or stepchild in your will or trust. The answer to these questions will be Illinois-specific, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced attorney like our team at Diamond Estate Planning.

When should I include a future child in my estate plan?


Any time is a great time to start planning for your child. 

As you are probably aware, the ART process can be expensive – and so is raising a child. Setting money aside or preparing a budget to accommodate these expenses can put you on the right financial path. 

In terms of your estate plan, it’s best to wait until the child has almost arrived to start planning things such as the child’s potential guardian, how much money they will receive, etc. Documents will be much clearer if the child is already born at the time of drafting. 

To be clear, you can certainly include a child in your Illinois estate plan even if the child is not biologically yours. To ensure that you provide for the right person, it is important that any references to “child” or “children” include the specific child you want to provide for. 

It’s also important to note that you can still change your plan once the child is born. As with all details of your estate plan, they need to change and evolve as your and your family’s circumstances change. 

Contact Diamond Estate Planning in McHenry, Illinois Today

Protecting you and your family is important to us. No matter the details of your relationship with your children, we are here to help. You can reach our McHenry, IL office by phone at 779-704-5738 or schedule an appointment online. We will take the time to understand your family situation and work with you to develop an estate plan that protects your family as a whole. 


DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes. While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, we urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.

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