Intertemporal arbitrage

Positive time preference is not the constraint it once was:

You can’t take it with you. So Arizona resort operator David Pizer has a plan to come back and get it.

Like some 1,000 other members of the "cryonics" movement, Mr. Pizer has made arrangements to have his body frozen in liquid nitrogen as soon as possible after he dies. In this way, Mr. Pizer, a heavy-set, philosophical man who is 64 years old, hopes to be revived sometime in the future when medicine has advanced far beyond where it stands today.

And because Mr. Pizer doesn’t wish to return a pauper, he’s taken an additional step: He’s left his money to himself.

With the help of an estate planner, Mr. Pizer has created legal arrangements for a financial trust that will manage his roughly $10 million in land and stock holdings until he is re-animated. Mr. Pizer says that with his money earning interest while he is frozen, he could wake up in 100 years the "richest man in the world."

…To serve clients who plan on being frozen, attorneys are tweaking so-called dynasty trusts that can legally endure hundreds of years, or even indefinitely. Such trusts, once widely prohibited, are now allowed by more than 20 states — including Arizona, Illinois and New Jersey — and typically are used to shield assets from estate taxes. They pay out funds to a person’s children, grandchildren and future generations.

The chilling new twist: In addition to heirs or charities, estate lawyers are also naming their cryonics clients as beneficiaries. If they come back to life after being frozen, the funds revert back to them. Assuming, that is, that there are no legal challenges to the plans.

That is from The Wall Street Journal, January 21 2006, p.A1.  Of course if you take the St. Petersburg Paradox literally, you should chop off and freeze your head for a very long time; there is some chance of enormous wealth at the end.

Addendum: Here is the full article.


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