Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Movement for Pets to Be Buried with Their Owners

Pet burialTraditionally, the burial of a person’s pet is confined to pet cemeteries, where some states have allowed the owners to be buried with them. However, today, a growing movement is permitting pet owners to rest in peace with their beloved pets. For example, Virginia permits pets and owners to lie next to one another in designated areas of a cemetery, as long as they are in separate caskets; Pennsylvania cemeteries are offering sections where owner and pet can be buried together. Indeed, the idea of keeping owners and pets together for all of eternity is an international phenomenon, with Germany, Russia, and Italy opening owner-pet cemeteries. 

See Florence Isaacs, Can You Bury Your Pet with You After You Die?, Legacy.com, February 16, 2017. 


February 24, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Woman Wins Right to Die After Suffering from Eating Disorder

Right to die2A woman who battled a severe eating disorder for most of her life has died after winning the right to refuse forced feeding. A New Jersey judge granted her the right to “live free from medical intervention.” The legal battle began when her court-appointed guardian entered an order allowing her to join palliative care instead of being force fed through a feeding tube. The case brings attention to those who suffer from disorders and want to enforce their right to die. 

See Ellie Kaufman, Woman with Eating Disorder Dies After Court Grants Her that Right, CNN, February 22, 2017. 


February 24, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Beloved Dog's Ashes Returned to Mourning Family

FlewellingAfter the Flewelling family had just mourned the loss of their beloved golden retriever, a thief stole the dog’s ashes from their car. As soon as the family realized the ashes had been stolen, they reported it to their local police department. The investigation happily led to the dog’s ashes being returned to the family. The family attributes the return to the power of social media, helping them to get the word out about their beloved pet.  

See Kathryn Larson, UPDATE: Beloved Dog’s Ashes Stolen in Janesville, Are Returned!, Wkow.com, February 21, 2017. 


February 24, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

One of England's Most Evil Killers Is Fighting for His Right to Die

Right to dieThe Moors Murders have haunted England since the 1960s, but now, one of the killers is fighting for his right to die. Ian Brady is currently in poor health and fighting to be removed from a secure hospital back to a prison in his native Scotland. Scottish prisons do not force-feed inmates, so Brady would like the chance to refuse food and die. However, the hospital where he is currently staying claims that his chronic mental illness is keeping him from being transferred. Brady lost his first legal fight to move locations back in 2013 and his most recent one earlier this week. 

See Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, UK’s ‘Most Evil’ Serial Killer Is Fighting for Right to Die, Fox News, February 22, 2017. 


February 23, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mother Will Give Birth to Terminally Ill Baby to Donate Her Organs

Donate organsKeri Young, an Oklahoma mother, will give birth to her terminally ill daughter and donate the newborn’s organs. Young’s baby will be born with a portion of her brain and skull missing—a condition known as anencephaly. The couple has been publicly open about their difficult decision in order to give others the strength they may need some day.  

See Mom Will Give Birth to Terminally Ill Daughter to Donate Her Organs, Fox News, February 21, 2017. 


February 22, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Over 100 Headstones Damaged at Jewish Cemetery

Jewish cemeteryThe University City Police Department is currently leading an investigation to determine who has damaged several headstones at a local Jewish cemetery. Over 100 headstones were damaged at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis. Police think that the vandalism was not the act of one individual, as they review security camera footage from the area. These acts come at a time when bomb threats are heightened at Jewish community centers across the country. 

See Dozens of Headstones Damaged at Jewish Cemetery Near St. Louis, Fox News, February 20, 2017. 


February 21, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Article on Helping Clients Plan Their Funeral Arrangements

Funeral arrangementAmy F. Altman recently published an Article entitled, Preventing Morbid Litigation: Ask Clients About Their Funeral Arrangements, Tr. & Est. 16 (Feb. 2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

As estate planners, we’re accustomed to asking our clients for personal information, such as their finances and family dynamics, to obtain a good grasp of their estate-planning goals. Without such questions and forthright answers, a planner would be at a loss in terms of how to appropriately plan for their clients. The result of this dialogue is the foundation of any well thought-out estate plan. One of a planner’s ultimate objectives is to create a plan that works under any set of circumstances, from natural disaster to unborn children. However, how often are we as planners asking our clients about their funeral arrangements? Practitioners should always ask clients a simple series of questions, such as: (1) who they want to be in charge of their final disposition, (2) whether they prefer burial over cremation, and (3) where they wish to be buried or interred. Practitioners may be reluctant to ask such questions possibly because the questions raise the issue of the client’s mortality. The same may be said about the client’s willingness to answer. 


February 20, 2017 in Articles, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Did Carrie Fisher Predict Her Own Death?

Fisher bluntSinger James Blunt made a chilling discovery while he was staying at Carrie Fisher’s home to record his debut “Back to Bedlam” album. Placed outside the room he was staying in, Blunt claims that Fisher had a Princess Leia cardboard cutout on which she wrote her date of birth and date of death on her forehead. Although he does not remember the exact date, it was somewhere around the time that she actually passed. After seeing the Fisher’s predicted lifespan, Blunt remembers thinking it was way too soon.  

See Siofra Brennan, Carrie Fisher Chillingly Predicted She Wouldn’t Be Alive in February 2017 by Writing Her Date of Death on a Cutout of Princess Leia She Kept at Her LA Home, Daily Mail, February 19, 2017. 


February 19, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Scientists Are Asking More People to Donate Their Brains

Donate brainScientists are petitioning for more people to donate their brains for research at death. A lack of brain specimens is holding back the research community from further developments. Specifically, they note that they lack brains of people with disorders such as depression and PTSD, in part, because people are unaware that those conditions are caused by changes in brain wiring. The goal is to be able to develop new treatments for mental and neurological disorders.  

See Pallab Ghosh, Scientists Appeal for More People to Donate Their Brains, BBC News, February 17, 2017. 


February 17, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Republican Congress Moves to Block D.C. Death with Dignity Law

Dc death with dignityNow that Donald Trump has been elected as President, Congressional Republicans are looking to assert their power over the District of Columbia’s local government. On Monday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to block a D.C. law, the Death with Dignity law, giving physicians the right to administer lethal medication to terminally ill patients. Opponents of the law are arguing that this law clashes with ethical prohibitions against suicide, worrying about a potential marketplace for death. Unless Republicans can get the committee-passed “resolution of disapproval” through both the House and Senate and signed by President Trump by the end of the week, the law will likely take effect as passed by D.C. Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser.    

See Mikaela Lefrak & Martin Austermuhle, Congress Moves to Overturn D.C. ‘Death with Dignity Law’, npr, February 14, 2017. 


February 15, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)