Future Planning: Cryptocurrency, Cryonics, & Posthumously Conceived Children in Illinois

(110 Ratings)

Produced on: June 04, 2018

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 60 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

In this program, attorneys will learn about several futuristic - but genuine - estate planning topics. First: Cryptocurrency. When Bitcoin, the most popular and oldest cryptocurrency, was introduced in 2009, people scoffed and predicted its failure. But just nine years later, Bitcoin operates in a viable market with buyers, sellers, and users, and has spawned more than one-thousand other cryptocurrencies. This development means that estate planning attorneys may be retained by clients with Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency, and will need to guide them in the administration of those assets.

Next: Cryonics and the disposition of a loved one’s remains. What happens if those remains are not quite dead but frozen? Despite the moral implications of prolonging life, advances in technology have advanced to allow individuals not only the ability to prolong life but also to freeze their entire body. In this scenario, an estate planning attorney whose client wants to be preserved must understand the statutory interplay among laws related to more than medical Advanced Directives and DNRs.

Third: Conception Post-Death. Within the last decade, comprehensive estate plans have also included genetic reproductive material provisions to protect cryogenically preserved materials such as gametes, or prohibit the storage and use of such materials post-death. Certain states have recently enacted legislation to guide families in this area, and hopefully avoid potential administrative nightmares. Attorneys working with these clients must probe the most intimate corners of clients’ lives to help them create a complete plan, while the attorney also seeks to avoid potential malpractice claims.

Teaching this program is Max Elliott, the principal and founder of a Chicago-based firm, The Law Offices of Max Elliott. Her firm practices estate planning and wealth preservation for professionals and small business owners. She is also General Counsel for the Bernie Mac Foundation, Inc., a member of the Chicago Bar Association Trust Law Executive Committee, U.S. Trust Center of Influence on Estate Planning, and American Bar Foundation Fellow. She has presented several times to bar association groups on emerging estate planning topics, such as marriage equality and estate planning for transgender persons.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss what cryptocurrencies are, how they should be legally held and referenced in an estate plan, and how they should be valued and transferred for purposes of estate administration
  2. Identify fiduciary duties that accompany cryonics and other legal responsibilities attached to all parties, become familiar with statutes governing property, decedent remains, and the legal questions regarding frozen tissue versus dead tissue, and understand how wrongful death issues may become estate planning headaches
  3. Delve into prospective estate planning, including virtual representation provisions and the tension between anticipating future technological advances and preventing complex administration challenges


Max Elliott

The Law Offices of Max Elliott, Ltd

Maximillienne "Max" Elliott, our firm's Principal, practices with the compassion and sensitivity required to maintain family harmony for her clients. She is licensed to practice in the State of Illinois and has represented clients with large and modest estates, challenging negotiations, multi-jurisdictional probate matters, guardianship involving minors and disabled persons, and family-owned business planning.

Max routinely speaks to lawyers, students, and community groups. For years, she was a staunch supporter of marriage equality, educating colleagues and the public on the adverse effects of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and was elated to celebrate the Supreme Court's historic ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that established marriage equality across the nation for all LGBTQ couples.

Max is a volunteer faculty member for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), member of the U.S. Trust, Bank of America Center on Influence on estate planning, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Bar Association Trust Law Committee.

Before launching her practice, Max was a law clerk in a boutique tax litigation firm, assisting the principal in probate, domestic relations, corporate records, non-profit corporation compliance, and estate planning.

In addition to her legal experience, Max has more than 20 years of non-legal employment experience, including many  years in the American Bar Association's International Liaison Office in the President's Office and several years with Fortune 500 companies.

Throughout the years, she has also assisted entrepreneurs in creating viable business planning solutions. This experience and her compassion for the philanthropic efforts has also guided Max to become General Counsel of The Bernie Mac Foundation.

Max has received numerous awards for her commitment to the community and is an active volunteer member of several legal organizations: the Black Women Lawyers’ Association; the Cook County Bar Association; Chicago Bar Association; Illinois State Bar Association; and American Bar Association.

Also, because of her strong commitment to public service, she also supports Chicago Women’s Health Center, a women’s medical collaborative center providing healthcare services to women living alternative lifestyles and those in the LGBTQ community, IntraSpectrum Counseling a mental health treatment organization for the LGBTQ community; and Marillac St. Vincent, which serves low income families throughout Chicago. Max additionally serves on the Women’s Board of Heartland Alliance, and the Board of Directors of the DePaul Law Black Alumni Foundation.

Living in Chicago, Max is happily married with 2 charming stepsons and a darling niece.


Sehla A.

Ms. Elliot was excellent!

holly m.

chatty and informative

Catherine E.

Very well organized and presented; very relevant for Illinois attorneys.

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$ 59 Wills, Trusts, & Estates In Stock


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