Saturday, 25 April 2015

How to sign up for Alcor cryo

A few months ago, I signed up for Alcor's brain-only cryopreservation. The entire process took me 11 weeks from the day I started till the day I received my medical bracelet (the thing that’ll let paramedics know that your dead body should be handled by Alcor). I paid them $90 for the application fee. From now on, every year I’ll pay $530 for Alcor membership fees, and also pay $275 for my separately purchased life insurance.

This article is intended for those who already think cryopreservation is a good idea but are putting it off since they don't know exactly what needs to be done. As you'll see from the cryopreservation agreement (page 10), the procedure is still experimental so there's a good chance that you won't be revived even if you are "frozen" the moment you die.

I chose to go the neurocryopreservation route since it seems to offer better chances for a high quality preservation, and also since it will be slightly easier for your remains to be evacuated from the storage facility in case of an emergency.

The process

Fill out the Alcor membership application available at the Alcor Membership Information and Enrollment Instructions Page. You'll have to pay the application fee of $90 to continue the process by filling out your credit card details on the last page. If you want to pay in a different manner, like I did, just call them directly at 480-905-1906 and someone will take your money.

Sign the cryo contract and get it cosigned

Next Alcor'll physically mail you the cryopreservation contracts to read and sign. Since the document runs to 60 pages, you'll need about 2 hours to read through everything. Once you're done, you'll need 3 witnesses to sign the contract. If you live in California, you will NOT need a notary to sign it.

Apply for life insurance

In order to pay for my cryopreservation, I chose to use a life insurance policy. You can use the life insurance policy offered by your employer, but only if the policy is portable i.e. you can change the legal owner and the legal beneficiary of the policy to Alcor.

I simply went to the GEICO Website and looked around for a life insurance policy that didn't require me to submit to a physical exam first. I couldn't complete the application online but a representative called me and got me insured for $22.50 per month within 24 hours.

I've heard from others who are signed up for cryo that Rudi Hoffman, a financial planner, gets good life insurance deals and will also help with the paperwork.

Change the beneficiary and owner of the insurance policy to Alcor

Once you have your life insurance policy, you'll need to change the beneficiary and owner to Alcor so that they receive the benefits in the event of your death. You'll need to
  1. Request the required forms from your insurance company
  2. Fill out, return, and confirm receipt of the change of owner form first
  3. Then fill out and return the change of beneficiary form
This was the most frustrating part of the process since I had to call the insurance company weekly for more than a month to check on the status of my forms. Note that the Alcor folks will help you fill out your change of ownership and beneficiary forms. Just ask.

Receive your Alcor medallion

Once you've confirmed that your policy has been changed, let Alcor know and they'll send you a membership packet containing a necklace and a bracelet for you to wear. In case you're involved in a fatal accident, the necklace should inform paramedics of how to treat your body until Alcor arrives.

If you'll frequently be travelling outside the U.S., ask Alcor to send you a necklace that has a phone number with the American country code prefix on it.

Alcor necklace (front)

Alcor necklace (reverse)


The preceding is all you need to be fully signed up. For bonus points, you can also do the following:

  1. Get your family members to sign affidavits promising not to block Alcor’s preservation activities after you're dead.
  2. Create a trust fund for when you’re revived.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great post on how to sign up with Alcor. Thanks for taking the intiative.

    We are working on making it easier in any way we can. That includes throughly revising the Application (parts of which may be confusing) and the rest of the paperwork, as well as putting as much of it online and automating it as feasible. As you note, the insurance part may be the most bothersome. Under some circumstances, I believe we can use a collateral assignment instead of change of ownership, but Diane Cremeens, our membership expert, is the person to ask about that.

    One minor correction. You say: “From now on, every year I’ll pay $530 for Alcor membership fees”. Probably not. Alcor has reduced membership dues in each of the last two years. IF membership continues to grow, allowing for economies of scale, I expect dues to decrease, both in inflation-adjusted and nominal terms. (Additions to the Endowment Fund would also enable us to reduce reliance on dues.) In addition, we are already giving discounts to long-term members. Currently, these start after 20 years but I hope and expect discounts to extend to 15-year members at least.

    For those who don’t like the necklace, there is also a wrist band. You can now get one that looks more like a wrist-watch type band rather than a metal chain.

    -- Max More, Alcor President