What Happens to Your Child’s Cord Blood After Your Death?
Like many parents, you may have banked your child’s cord blood or stem cells with one of the several cord blood banking companies that are on the market today. However, have you given any thought to what happens to the stored genetic material if something were to happen to you and
your child’s other parent?
Generally speaking, as the parent, you own the genetic material you have stored with the banking company. Hopefully, they also took your spouse’s information and listed him or her as a secondary owner, meaning if they cannot reach you for whatever reason, they will have a back up contact and owner to maintain the account.
Most cord blood banking companies stop there. Unless you instruct them specifically, they will not list a 3rd owner. Very few companies will even allow you to transfer your interest to your trust. Understandably, this is a new area of the law and it is developing. With little instructions on how to handle these types of situations, most companies have their own internal procedure for handling such matters.
For example, Cord Blood Registry will allow you to list a second and third person as a contact person on your account. Meaning, if you pass away, the next person listed will be contacted to pay and maintain the account each year. When your child turns 18, his or her genetic material will automatically be transferred over to your child’s name.
From an estate planning perspective, you want to make sure that should something happen to both parents, there is someone in charge to continue paying the storage fees and maintain the stored material. Normally, this someone would be the trustee or executor of the person’s estate, however, unless this person is also listed individually on the company’s database, they will not likely receive communication that the storage fees are due.
So, if you have genetic material stored make sure you contact your banking company and list a 2nd, 3rd and 4th person on the account to ensure that the materials will be maintained and the storage fee will be paid. Of course, you can also pre-pay for life, but you would still need to list these individuals as contact people so they can access the materials and make use for your children should the need arise and you are no longer living.