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

(540 reviews)

Produced on June 04, 2018

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Course Information

Time 1h
Difficulty Beginner
Topics covered in this course: Wills, Trusts, & Estates

Course Description

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

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Max Elliott

The Law Offices of Max Elliott, Ltd

Max Elliott, Managing Attorney and Founder of The Law Offices of Max Elliott, Ltd., is a licensed, Illinois estate planning, estate administration, and wealth preservation attorney. Her firm, with offices in Chicago and New York City, focuses on unique families and women small business owners, and services include estate planning for taxable and non-taxable estates, estate administration, and advising small businesses in start-up, growth, restructuring, cybersecurity compliance, and succession planning phases.

On behalf of her firm, Ms. Elliott is also General Counsel for the Bernie Mac Foundation, Inc., a private non-profit foundation, and spearheaded the organization’s most recent restructuring. 

Ms. Elliott routinely speaks to lawyers, students, and community groups on the intersection of estate and retirement planning; small business essentials, including legal entity selection, succession planning, generational wealth transfers, and cybersecurity program planning; and fiduciary selection and other protective measures for seniors and the LGBTQ community. 

She is ranked as one of the Top 100 Black Lawyers by the National Black Lawyers organization, a member of the Executive Committee for the Chicago Bar Association’s Trust Law Committee, a 2017-18 Super Lawyers® Rising Star, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a volunteer faculty member for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), a faculty member for Manhattan, New York-based Lawline that provides online legal CLE for attorneys nationwide, a faculty member of Esquire CLE, a member of the U.S. Trust, Bank of America Center of Influence on estate planning, ranked “Superb” and a recipient of the Top Contributor in Estate Planning Award from Avvo, a lawyer peer ranking site, and a member of the Association of African American Financial Advisors. 

Before launching her practice in 2011, Ms. Elliott was a law clerk in a small tax law firm, assisting the principal in probate, domestic relations, corporate records, and non-profit corporation compliance.

Ms. Elliott graduated from DePaul University College of Law and, while there, Ms. Elliott co-founded, as Co-Editor-In-Chief, the DePaul Journal of Women, Gender and the Law, the first legal journal in Illinois dedicated to women and gender legal issues. She also served for 2 years as Editor of DePaul’s public interest law newsletter, “The Advocate.”

In addition to her legal experience, Ms. Elliott has more than 20 years of non-legal experience, including several years’ employment in the American Bar Association’s International Liaison Office and several years with Fortune 500 companies, including a former “Big 8 Accounting Firm” and a leading international management consulting firm. 

Throughout Ms. Elliott's career, she has also assisted entrepreneurs in creating viable business planning solutions, such as creating and implementing marketing plans, strategic operation plans, securing capital, and business succession. She has worked with start-ups in the personal care, healthcare, small manufacturing, and nonprofit sectors. This experience provides a solid foundation for the business advisory services she provides to small business owners.

Ms. Elliott has received numerous awards, starting in law school and continuing through her legal career, for her commitment to advocating for the rights of marginalized individuals and communities. 

Besides her blog started in 2011, “The Lotus Rules,” (formerly, “The Shark Free Zone”), Ms. Elliott's publications include “Improving Afghanistan Maternal Mortality Rates despite the Lack of the Rule of Law,” International Human Rights Law Institute (IHRLI) Human Rights and Rule of Law Review, Fall 2010; “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: What the Reversal of U.S. Asylum Law Means to Advocates and Women Asylum Seekers,” The Women's Advocate, Fall 2009; and “Catching Up with International Criminals in the Twenty-First Century: Modifying and Accelerating U.S. Extradition,” White Paper, Library of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, Spring 2009. Ms. Elliott is also the author of the non-fiction book, “Ms. Thang, Real Knights Don't Show Up at 3 in the Morning,” published by Pocket Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster. 


  • Virtual Estate Planning: Digital Currency & Posthumous Children
  • Preventing Disasters: Estate Planning for Older, Unmarried, LGBTQ Couples in Illinois
  • Future Planning: Cryptocurrency, Cryonics & Posthumously Conceived Children
  • Planning Family-Owned Businesses: Avoiding Earthquakes and Landslides while Building Legacies
  • Diversity Matters: In/Tolerance Tales from the Solo/Small Firm Trenches
  • How to Incorporate Estate Planning into Your Offering: The Silver Tsunami, Planning Trends, and Estate Planning Myths
  • Avoiding the ARDC Checkmate: The Ethical Difficulties of Lawyers Functioning in Dual Roles
  • Professional Wills and Advanced Directives for the Solo/Small Firm Practitioner,
  • Working in a Solo Small Firm Practice Environment
  • Estate Planning and Wealth Preservation Considerations
  • The Lottery & Estate Planning for Elders: You Don't Need A Ticket to Win
  • What if I Am Neither: Estate Planning for the Transgender and Queer Community
  • Estate Planning for LGBTQ Couples: Legal Changes in Plain English, Part Deux
  • Estate Planning for LGBTQ Couples: Legal Changes in Plain English
  • Celebrating Black History Month: The Essence of the African American Community and the Law
  • Tax and Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples
  • The Silver Tsunami: Are You Prepared? (Estate Planning for Baby Boomers & Their Families)
  • Fundamental Estate Planning Documents for Today’s Families
  • Succession Planning for Attorneys
  • Basic Estate Planning Is an Oxymoron
  • Fundamental Estate Planning Documents for Same-Sex Couples
  • Changes in the Estate Planning Landscape in Light of the Illinois Civil Union
  • Basic and Intermediate Estate Planning Fundamentals
  • Marriage Equality, Hot Topics in Family Law,
  • LGBT Employment and Relationship Rights
  • Estate Planning and the Illinois Civil Union

Professional Affiliations

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

 Volunteer Support

  • Chicago Women’s Health Center
  • Howard Brown Center
  • Marillac-St. Vincent Family Services 
  • Legal Advisory Board of Raise the Floor Alliance,


DePaul University College of Law, International Law

Northwestern University, Political Science, International Relations


Warren M.

Tough area to sort out!

Gordon L.

Ms. Elliott is so knowledgeable.

Wilbur C.

What a brilliant sense of humor! Did I enjoy this course.

Honey G.

very interesting issues raised

Cacilia M.

Great instructor! Interesting subject! Enjoyed this program.

Chris K.

Attorney Max E. a delightful, knowledgeable presenter.

Carolyn S.

Very educational. I didn't know much about these topics before taking the course.

Arthur R.

Presenter did a very good job of presenting difficult material.

Georgette N.


Annette E. P.


Helen Y.

Excellent and well organized, clear, and nicely communicated.

Sandra S.

Fascinating topic, great presentation.

Mary N.

Very interesting topic. Great presentation

Angela U.

Very interesting content!

Katherine P.


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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