Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friends and Family Said Goodbye to Robin Williams in Private Ceremony

Robin_WilliamsRobin Williams, who died early last week, was reportedly put to rest through a private ceremony near his home in California. Williams was cremated and his ashes scattered in the San Francisco Bay.

See Jackie Willis, Robin Williams’ Ashes Reportedly Scattered in San Francisco Bay Last Week, Fox News, Aug. 21, 2014.


August 22, 2014 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Online Toolkit Offers Estate Planning Help

ToolkitA comprehensive on-line estate planning toolkit service called Final Roadmap can assist with various estate planning needs, including storing and sharing estate planning documents. Membership to the site is available with a one-time purchase. Here is a description of the toolkit from the website:

Misunderstanding and confusion result from neglecting to plan ahead, leaving a painful and costly legacy to those you care about most.  Final Roadmap was created to make end of life planning manageable and affordable. The Toolkit allows you to create, compile and safely store documents and directives  – with the option to share the documents you select, with the individuals you choose, in the equivalent of an electronic vault.

August 21, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Resource Links | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Casey Kasem to be Buried in Norway


According to reports in the Norwegian Newspaper VG, the body of Casey Kasem is to be moved to Oslo. 

Kasem’s body was moved by his wife, Jean, to Ontario after he died in Washington State this June.  Kasem’s children from a previous marriage contend that their stepmother is keeping his remains from them. 

Kasem’s daughter, Kerri, has accused Mrs. Kasem of abusing her father prior to his death.  Kerri wants a full autopsy to be performed on the body.  Kerri’s spokesman stated that it is not clear what Jean Kasem plans to do with her husband’s remains, “We just know that she wants to keep Casey away from family and friends and by the looks of it, [is] hiding from law enforcement.” 

If Kasem is laid to rest in Norway, it will be the end of a journey for a great man.

See Casey Kasem to be Buried in Oslo, Says Norway Press, BBC News, Aug. 15, 2014.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 18, 2014 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Men Charged with Abuse of Corpse


Three Maine men have been charged with abuse of a corpse after they were found digging up the cremated remains of two relatives and moving them to another cemetery within the state.  Police say the men dug up the remains of Richard Lewis and the son who shared his name from a cemetery last fall, subsequently reburying them in the family plot.  The remains were returned to their original resting place. 

See Associated Press, Men ‘Just Thought We Had A Right’ To Move Family Members’ Graves, The Huffington Post, Aug. 15, 2014.

August 18, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Social Media Changing Death Norms

RIPSocial media is changing death and funeral related social norms. Death is no longer a private matter for close family and friends, but is shared and commented on in a public sphere online. From the over three-million memorialized profiles on facebook to photos with comical taglines that show pictures of open caskets at funerals, some are concerned that social media has shifted the focus away from a respectful mourning of the deceased to an opportunity to express narcissistic tendencies of the user.

See Quentin Fottrell, When Death Meets Facebook: Social Networkers Upstage the Deceased, Market Watch, Aug. 16, 2014.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 18, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Widow of Casey Kasem Planning Burial in Norway

NorwayAs I have previously discussed, news that Casey Kasem’s body may be headed to Norway was released last week. Now, an article in a Norwegian newspaper and the private investigator for Kerri Kasem, Casey Kasem’s daughter, have confirmed that Kasem will be buried in Norway despite his wishes to be buried in Forest Lawn. It is unknown where in Oslo, Norway Kasem will be buried or why Jean Kasem, Kasem’s widow, chose the location. Kerri has alleged that Jean abused Kasem, but the foreign burial may create jurisdictional issues for building an elder abuse case.

See Tim Appelo, Casey Kasem to be Buried in Norway, Hollywood Reporter, Aug. 14, 2014.

Special thanks to Shaneesa Ashford for bringing this article to my attention.

August 16, 2014 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Death Event Planning, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Trend of Creating a Holiday to Honor the Memory of the Deceased

CelebrateCreating a holiday to pay tribute and celebrate the lives of deceased individuals is a rising trend. Friends, family, or those that simply have great respect for the lives and accomplishments of individuals who have died are taking time on specified days to honor the deceased individuals.  The first Mandela Day occurred on July 18 and was focused on inspiring individuals to make a positive difference in the world. Some holidays are service based and encourage participants to give back to their communities.

See Marian Salzman, Trend Report: Holidays for the Newly Deceased, Forbes, Aug. 11, 2014.

August 12, 2014 in Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mix-Up at Houston Funeral Home


When Bruce Lawson went to a south Houston funeral home to view his mother’s body after she passed away, he did not recognize her.  He said the mortuary staff assured him the woman was in fact his mother and she was subsequently buried in the grave of her late husband at Houston National Cemetery. 

Not long thereafter, staff at Mabrie Memorial Mortuary contacted him, saying a mistake was made at his mother’s funeral and the wrong woman had been placed in the casket and buried in the grave. 

It was later learned that Pearlie Deason was buried in place of Edna Lawson.  Deason’s body was exhumed and reinterred.  Edna Lawson was also re-buried after her family had a brief funeral service.  Both families are grieving the loss of their loved ones as well as the perplexity surrounding the funerals.  “It’s been a devastating situation.” 

The families are currently working with an attorney and plan to file a lawsuit against the funeral home.

See Dale Lezon, Women’s Bodies Mixed Up At Houston Funeral Home, My San Antonio, Aug. 8, 2014. 

August 10, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Crowdfunding for Funerals on the Rise

Fundraising1With the median cost of funerals over $7,000, families that are unexpectantly faced with the high cost after the sudden death of a family member may look to creative solutions to cover the cost. One option increasing in popularity is online crowdfunding. Crowdfunding websites allow for the family to create an online donations campaign. Sites that have become popular for funeral campaigns include GoFundMe.com and YouCaring.com. It is important for campaign creators to be honest and clear about the purpose and intentions for the donations, and to keep in mind that state and federal laws apply to the donation campaign promises.

See Kayleigh Kulp, Crowdfunding Funerals: What You Need to Know, Fox Business, August 8, 2014.

August 10, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Burial Prices to Die For


All around the world, populations are rivaling the deceased for land, driving up real-estate costs into the afterlife.  Even in large Asian cities where creation is customary, space for urns is in short supply.  “At the end of the day, it’s like any other piece of real estate . . . Prices have conspired to put burials out of the range of most people’s budgets.” 

Every week, an estimated 1,000 New Yorkers pass away, and Manhattan is running out of room for them.  Out in Brooklyn, prices of plots for deceased, and apartments for the living are at record highs. 

Aside from burial plots, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral in the U.S. is $7,000.  This, in addition to shifting cultural and religious attitudes, explains why cremations will become increasingly common.  Compared to 1960, where fewer than 4 percent of Americans chose cremation, that number increased to 43 percent in 2012. 

From a floating cemetery on the South China Sea to launching corpses into space, architects and urban planners are coming up with new ways to dispose of human remains.  “The problem is pressing, now more than ever . . . Right now we’re not being efficient, or environmental.”

See Flavia Krause-Jackson, Scarce Cemetery Space Creates Prices to Die For: Cities, Bloomberg, Aug. 4, 2014.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 7, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)