Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Cuba Will Ban Monuments Named After Fidel Castro

Fidel castro statuteCuban President Raul Castro declared that his government will not allow the naming of streets or public monuments after Cuba’s former leader, Fidel Castro, keeping with his brother’s desire to avoid a personality cult. In fact, the country’s National Assembly will pass a law fulfilling his brother’s wishes. Conversely, some revolutionary fighters who fought alongside Fidel have their likeness spread across Cuba. This announcement comes at the tail end of Fidel’s four-day public mourning period.

See Raul Castro: Cuba Will Ban Naming of Monuments After Fidel, Fox News, December 3, 2016.

December 5, 2016 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Little Girl Wakes Up from Coma Days Before Doctors Planned to End Life Support

MarwaIn September, doctors told the parents of a one-year-old girl that she was facing death due to a virus attack on her nervous system and that they would need to put her in an induced coma. The doctors predicted that the girl would never breathe on her own, walk on her own, or eat on her own again. A couple short months later on November 22, just as the doctors were prepping to end the girl’s life support, she awoke.

 See Baby Wakes from Coma Days After Doctors Wanted to Pull Life Support, Fox News, November 30, 2016.

December 2, 2016 in Current Events, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0)

Book on Burial Benefits for Veterans

Burial benefitsMary M. Markovich published a book entitled, Burial Benefits for Veterans and Their Family Members: Remembering Our Military with Respect, Honor, and Dignity (2014). Provided below is a summary of the book:

Burial Benefits for Veterans and their Family Members: Remembering our Military with Respect, Honor, and Dignity is an illustrated guidebook that explains the burial benefits that may be available for Veterans and their eligible family members. This book will give comfort and guidance to those individuals who are planning for their future burial or who have an immediate need. Families and friends of Veterans will learn about various types of burials and the memorial benefits available to celebrate and honor the lives of those who have served our country. The reader will find answers to frequently asked questions, such as:

  • What military burial benefits are available?
  • Where are Veteran’s cemeteries located?
  • Can Veterans without an Honorable Discharge be buried in a National Cemetery?
  • Who can be buried in Arlington National Cemetery?
  • Is it still possible for Veterans to be buried at sea?
  • Who do I contact for the burial?
  • How can my funeral director help me?

December 2, 2016 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fidel Castro's Ashes Begin Four-Day Journey

CastroFidel Castro’s ashes began their four-day journey across Cuba, starting in Havana to their final resting place in Santiago. The total funeral procession is more than 500 miles long. The procession will travel through rural communities that were significantly impacted by Castro’s social and economic reforms, allowing them to have access to health care and education. On Sunday, Castro’s ashes will be interred, ending the nine-day mourning period.

 See Thousands of Cubans Line the Streets as Fidel Castro’s Ashes Begin Final Four-Day Journey, Daily Mail, November 30, 2016.

December 1, 2016 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hundreds of Strangers Attend Homeless Veterans Funeral

Veteran funeralHundreds of strangers attended a homeless U.S. veteran’s funeral in Wyoming. Stephen Reiman died in a Wyoming hospital, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, after traveling from California with few possessions. Nobody visited Reiman in the hospital, but the coroner hoped that people from the community would attend his funeral to mark his passing. The funeral was a momentous occasion to bring awareness for homeless veterans.

See Emily Crane, A Hero’s Farewell: Hundreds of Strangers Attend the Funeral of a Homeless U.S. Navy Veteran They Had Never Met – After He Died Alone Suffering Post Traumatic Stress, Daily Mail, November 29, 2016.

November 30, 2016 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Netherlands Man Chooses Assisted Suicide

Euthenasia kitA man in the Netherlands was allowed to have assisted suicide due to his long battle with alcohol addiction. Sixteen years ago, the Netherlands implemented a euthanasia law for people living with “unbearable suffering” and no prospect of improvement. Last year, over 5,500 people ended their life using this law. After several stints in rehab, the man decided to end his suffering. Some have argued against these laws, contending that it undermines the treatment and help that those suffering should receive. Countering this argument is that not everyone is curable, and those people need a humane way out.

See Tom Embury-Dennis, Man in the Netherlands Euthanised Due to His Alcohol Addiction, Independent, November 29, 2016.

November 30, 2016 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 28, 2016

A United Family at Time of Death

Family end of lifeParticipation in the end of life for an aging parent comes with obligations. Teamwork, coordination, and cooperation can all help smooth the emotional journey, especially when family disagreement seems imminent. Families who cannot agree on the care to provide for their loved ones can end up causing more pain for the person they are trying to comfort and protect. The most common disagreement stems from a family member who competes to prove who cares the most, which can often lead to the suggestion of overly aggressive treatments. The squabble over the decision-making can result in issues that prolong some aspect of the dying process to the detriment of the dying. Aids like Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLSTs) can help families come to an agreement in the implementation for care of their loved ones.

See Samuel Harrington, A United Family Can Make All the Difference When Someone Is Dying, Washington Post, November 20, 2016.

November 28, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How to Respond to Our Own Deaths

Spritual deathDoctors facing their own death can truly begin to understand the vital roles that spirituality and religion play in their patients’ lives. Psychological research suggests that people seek means of symbolic immortality through religion, their children, their creative work, or “experiential transcendence.” Our society has difficulty grasping the finality of death, engaging in widespread denial of life’s end. Ultimately, no one knows what happens when we die, but we should work on finding better ways to accept the finality of death either symbolically or through other means.

See Robert Klitzman, How Should We Respond to Our Own Deaths?, CNN, November 22, 2016.

November 23, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Terminally Ill Girl Directs Her Body Disposition to Judge

Frozen remainsA teenage girl living with terminal cancer has directed her body disposition to a judge in which she wishes to be frozen instead of buried in hopes that one day there is a cure for cancer. She emphasized her beliefs that being cryo-preserved would give her a chance of being woken up and cured in the future. This concept invites several levels of skepticism in the medical community. The judge has granted her wishes as one of the first cases of its kind in England—and perhaps the world. The judge’s order has cleared the way for the girl’s remains to be transported to a United States specialist facility to start the preservation process.

 See Dying UK Girl Convinces Judge to Let Her Body be Frozen, Fox News Health, November 17, 2016.

November 18, 2016 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Article on How Estate Planners Should Deal with Clients' Body Disposition Concerns

Body dispositionGerry W. Beyer recently published an Article entitled, ‘What’ll You Do [With Me] When I’m Gone’— Controlling Body Disposition: The Law and the Macabre (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Perhaps the most difficult thought to ponder is one’s own mortality. Many people avoid confronting the grim reality that they and their loved ones will eventually die. Estate planners must sensitively urge their clients to face the inevitability of death to obtain well-reasoned dispositions of their property. Many clients are also very concerned with the final disposition of their bodies. For example, some individuals want to be buried while others prefer to be cremated.

An estate planner needs to take steps to help insure that a client’s body will be handled after death in accordance with the client’s wishes. The estate planner must also work to reduce the chances of those wishes being frustrated either by lack of information to the individuals making disposition arrangements or by individuals surviving the client who are unhappy with the deceased’s disposition requests.

Unfortunately, many estate planners ignore or deal superficially with their clients’ body disposition concerns. Accordingly, this article details the techniques which Texas estate planners may use to assist their clients to receive the body disposition they desire.

[Note that the "macabre" part of the article is available only when the author presents this paper at seminars and similar programs.]

November 7, 2016 in Articles, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)