In Australia you possibly can now be frozen after death. If you might be revived in the longer term, are you continue to legally the identical person?

In recent weeks, Southern Cryonics – the southern hemisphere’s only cryopreservation facility in rural New South Wales – announced He had succeeded in cryopreserved his first patient.

There are only a handful of cryopreservation facilities worldwide—two within the United States and one each in Russia, China, Australia, and Switzerland. If the data on their web sites and within the press is accurate, these facilities have probably cryopreserved not more than 600 patients in total.

Media reports However, it is anticipated that interest in cryopreservation has increased for the reason that outbreak of the COVID pandemic, with hundreds of individuals world wide registering for post-death cryopreservation.

So what’s cryopreservation and what are its legal consequences?

Southern Cryonics says it has cryogenically frozen its first customer at its Holbrook facility.

What is cryopreservation?

Cryopreservation is the means of preserving biological material (reminiscent of sperm, blood, and tissue samples) for long periods of time using extreme cold. The first living thing to be cryopreserved was bird sperm within the Nineteen Forties. The first human was cryopreserved in 1967.

The most vital step in cryopreserving a human being is a process called vitrification. First, the blood is pumped out of the body. It is replaced with a chemical protectant that partially replaces the water within the body's cells with a chemical mixture that forestalls ice from forming (much like the antifreeze in automotive engines).

The “patient’s” body is then placed in a form of sleeping bag, sealed in a Dewar flask – a big vessel containing liquid nitrogen – and kept at a temperature of -196°C until the time comes for resurrection.

The ultimate goal is to revive the cryopreserved patient at a later date when medical science has advanced enough to cure them of the reason for their original “death.” However, there isn’t any evidence that this can ever occur in the longer term.

A possible legal minefield

While its proponents describe cryopreservation as “a second chance in life”, Scientists are quick to indicate The probabilities of successful resuscitation are slim.

An individual have to be declared dead before their body might be cryopreserved, meaning that successful resuscitation would effectively amount to a second (legal) life for the resuscitated patient.

It may be a legal minefield.

The questions that arise include:

  • Are you a similar person in your second life as you were in your first or are you a totally latest legal entity?

  • What happens to the legal obligations you made in your first life while you reawaken in your second life?

  • Are you continue to certain to the phone contract you will have signed?

  • Do you will have to restart repayment of your mortgage loan and is your property still yours?

The answer to the last query might be “no.” A deceased person cannot own property. When they die, their estate – their money and material possessions – is distributed to others in line with their will (or, in the event that they die and not using a will, in line with the principles of intestate succession).

This signifies that unless we radically rewrite our inheritance laws, if an individual is successfully resurrected, they may not give you the option to inherit their former wealth or possessions.

This creates the chance to “Cryonic Refugees“- People waking up from cryopreservation in a future with no social or community ties to depend on and no money to survive.

In the US, a cryonics facility has tried to get around this problem by encouraging patients to take a position their assets in long-term trusts.

A trust is a legal structure where Person A becomes the legal owner of a property, but can only use it for the good thing about Person B. There are certain rules about who Person B might be – for instance, they have to be legally identifiable and have the flexibility to say the trust property inside a set time period (80 years in lots of Australian jurisdictions).

In the case of the cryonics trust, Person B is the resuscitated patient – ​​someone with uncertain legal identity (remember, we have no idea whether or not the resuscitated patient is identical legal entity in each of his or her lives) and with no guarantee of claiming the trust property throughout the required time period.

These are definitely explanation why lawyers needs to be skeptical. And in fact, even when the trusts survive, there isn’t any guarantee that the assets they contain will retain their value in some unknown future.

Further legal grey areas

But even before resuscitation, the financial elements of a cryopreserved patient may cause legal difficulties.

While the initial costs of the primary cryopreservation process – which may cost greater than 150,000 Australian dollars – are sometimes covered by life insurance or a lump sum payment in a will. However, the proven fact that cryonics storage is designed to last for a really very long time raises the query of how ongoing bills will likely be paid within the distant future.

There are even historical examples of cryonics facilities threatening to remove patients from suspension if outstanding storage bills should not paid.

Would such an act be murder? Can you kill someone who’s already dead?

To arrive at a solution, the law will likely require a precedent.

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