Colorado Springs Court Upholds Desire of Alcor Member to be Cryopreserved

Alcor Press Release – February 22, 2010

On February 9, 2010, Mary Robbins was pronounced legally dead. Ms. Robbins was a long-term member of Alcor Life Extension Foundation. Alcor is a science-based state-of-the-art research facility in Scottsdale, Arizona. Alcor preserves bodies at ultra-cold temperatures to achieve biostasis at a temperature at which all cell deterioration stops.

Prior to death, Ms. Robbins made a valid, written donation of her body to Alcor pursuant to the Colorado Disposition of Last Remains Act and Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. Ms. Robbins wanted to be cryopreserved, and she made her long-standing intentions known for years. Additionally, she made financial arrangements to pay for cryopreservation using a $50,000 annuity with Alcor as the beneficiary.

Ms. Robbins’s family is now claiming that her long-standing request to be cryopreserved was changed shortly before she died. However, Alcor has yet to receive any written documentation changing Ms. Robbins’s wish to be cryopreserved.

Eric Bentley, the Colorado attorney for Alcor stated, “Alcor simply wants to fulfill the documented wishes of Ms. Robbins to be cryopreserved. Ms. Robbins was competent when she made arrangements to be cryopreserved, she expressed that intention in writing, and Alcor wants to carry out her wishes.”

Alcor intends to state its case in court pursuant to legally binding documents, the governing statutes, and the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. Ms. Robbins is being maintained at the temperature of dry ice (-79 degrees Celsius) at a Colorado Springs funeral home pending resolution of the matter.

False Statements

It has been alleged in news media stories that Alcor requires invasive medical interventions to be performed prior to legal death, including placement of tubes in the nose and throat, and administration of medications. This is incorrect. Alcor requires no such interventions. Alcor does not participate in the medical care of patients, or perform any medical interventions prior to legal death. The objective of Alcor’s procedures is to limit injury to the brain after legal pronouncement of death.

Colorado Springs Court Upholds Desire of Alcor Member to be Cryopreserved

Alcor Press Release – March 1, 2010

Mary Robbins was a member of Alcor Life Extension Foundation since 2006. She signed numerous documents expressing her desire to have her remains cryopreserved by Alcor after legal death. Ms. Robbins never executed a document which revoked her wishes concerning the donation of her remains to Alcor for cryopreservation. The Colorado Springs Probate Court decided today that a “change in beneficiary form” related to an insurance annuity was not sufficient to revoke the long-standing desire of Ms. Robbins for cryopreservation. The court upheld the desire of Ms. Robbins to be cryopreserved.

The change in beneficiary form was placed in front of Ms. Robbins two days before her death. Her mental and physical well-being are questionable at the time she executed the document. For this and other reasons, Alcor challenged the claim by her family that she had revoked her cryonics arrangements based on this document.

Colorado counsel for Alcor, Eric Bentley, said, “We are very pleased that the written desires of Ms. Robbins will be fulfilled. This case has always been about the written intentions of Ms. Robbins.”

Ms. Robbins signed seven different documents expressing her wishes for cryopreservation, including four documents her personal attorney prepared. At a hearing on Friday, the estate attorney for Ms. Robbins, various family members, and a friend of Ms. Robbins all testified that Ms. Robbins had a keen interest and desire for cryopreservation.

Ms. Robbins remains were frozen in dry ice two days after her death, and are being held in a Colorado Springs mortuary at a temperature of -79 degrees Celsius pending final legal resolution of her wishes.

See copy of Colorado Probate Court Order in this case (PDF)

Alcor and Robbins Family Reach Amicable Settlement

Alcor Press Release – March 3, 2010

Mary Robbins was a member of Alcor Life Extension Foundation since 2006. Ms. Robbins left her remains to Alcor in a written directive pursuant to the Colorado Disposition of Last Remains Act. A dispute arose between the Robbins family and Alcor over whether or not Ms. Robbins cancelled her written wishes concerning her remains two days before her legal death in Colorado Springs on February 9, 2010.

On March 1, 2010, a Colorado Probate Court ruled that Ms. Robbins did not revoke her written wishes concerning her remains by signing a “change of beneficiary” document in connection with an insurance annuity. The court further ordered that Alcor shall have custody of the remains of Ms. Robbins.

Today, Alcor and the Robbins family reached an amicable settlement in which Alcor will be allowed to transport immediately the frozen remains of Ms. Robbins to Arizona to complete the process of cryopreservation. In exchange, Alcor agreed to release all potential claims to an insurance annuity in which Alcor had been the previously named beneficiary.

Jennifer Chapman, Executive Director of Alcor stated: “We are glad we were able to fulfill the wishes of our long-standing member.”

Colorado counsel for Alcor, Eric Bentley, said, “Even though Ms. Robbins long intended that the annuity go to Alcor in connection with her cryonics arrangements, Alcor decided to release any claims on the funds in the interests of seeing her wishes completed without further delay. Alcor is hopeful this compromise helps the Robbins family find peace and closure.”

Mr. Bentley went on to say, “This case was never about money. Alcor simply wanted to carry out the written desires of Ms. Robbins. Alcor is pleased the matter could be resolved quickly and in the best interests of everyone involved.”

See Copy of Actual Settlement Agreement (PDF)