Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, July 21, 2014

Where is Casey Kasem’s Body?

Casey KasemAs I have previously discussed, Casey Kasem’s body is yet to be buried. Kasem’s daughter was issued a restraining order that prevents Kasem’s wife from having his remains cremated, but it is unknown where his remains are and what has or will happen to them. The funeral home has declined to give any information to the attorney for Kasem’s daughter. The restraining order was issued so that an autopsy of the body could be done, but it is possible that the remains have already been cremated.

See Phuong Le & Gene Johnson, Associated Press, Lawyer: Unclear Where Casey Kasem’s Body Is, SF Gate, July 19, 2014.

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

July 21, 2014 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mannequin Mistake Prompts Investigation


Two men were hired to clean out a vacant Tampa Bay house and thought they found a mannequin hanging in the garage.  Thinking this was a “Halloween like hoax,” they cut it down and took it to the local dump.  However, the landfill workers soon realized the mannequin look alike was actually a human body. 

Hernando County Sheriff’s officials said the body belonged to a 33-year-old Spring Hill man who committed suicide several weeks ago, and his body was in a “state of decomposition similar to mummification.”  The investigation is still on-going.

See Associated Press, Human Remains Mistakenly Taken to Florida Landfill, Fox News, July 18, 2014. 

July 20, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Casey Kasem's Body Is Yet To Be Buried


A month after Casey Kasem’s death, his daughter is claiming that he is yet to be buried. 

Although the iconic radio personality died on June 15th, a spokesperson for his daughter Kerri Kasem says that his body remains unburied at a funeral home in Tacoma.  Casey’s second wife Jean Kasem has the rights to his body and has yet to make burial arrangements for her late husband. 

A hospital spokesman said that Jean did collect her husband’s remains, but she made no mention of what she plans to do with them.  Casey’s children are hoping to bury their father at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California.

See Casey Kasem’s Body Still Not Buried, Daughter’s Rep Claims, Fox News, July 16, 2014.

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

New York to Consider Regulation to Allow Humans and Pets Buried Together

PetsAs I have previously discussed, New York adopted regulations to allow pet cemeteries to bury cremated human remains next to their pet as long as the pet cemetery did not charge a fee for the human burial. The limitation in charging an additional fee makes providing this service less desirable for the pet cemeteries to offer, and some are unwilling to incur the additional costs of the extra burial for no additional payment. Now, a new regulation is headed to the state senate that would allow the pet cemeteries to charge a fee for the service

See, Pets and Humans May Be Buried in Same Cemetery, Fox 23 News, June 18, 2014.

Special thanks to Barry Seltzer (Estate Planner) for bringing this article to my attention.

July 18, 2014 in Death Event Planning, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Idaho Cemetery Prohibits Gay Partners Burial

CemeteryMadelynn Taylor, 74, filed a civil rights lawsuit Monday after the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery refused to allow her to bury the ashes of her late wife.  Mrs. Taylor filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boise after she tried to make advance arrangements last year to have her ashes buried with Jean Mixner, whom she married in California in 2008 when gay marriage was legal. 

While federal veterans cemeteries allow the spouses of gay veterans to be interred, the Idaho cemetery (owned and operated by the state) does not.  Mrs. Taylor’s situation is “among the most extreme examples of the harm caused by state laws that deny respect to the marriages of same-sex couples. . . Denying these important protections to committed couples is not simply unjust, it is needlessly cruel.”

See Rebecca Boone, Vet Sues After Burial With Gay Partner is Denied, Associated Press, July 8, 2014.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.  

July 9, 2014 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 23, 2014

New Funeral Service Portrays Deceased in Lifelike Pose

UrnA funeral home in New Orleans, among others, is providing a unique and increasingly requested service for those planning funerals for family members or making future plans for themselves. The service includes arranging the body in a position and with a backdrop that shows the person as they would have been be seen in life. This type of planning is available in multiple locations, but is still relatively rare. Services of this kind have included such scenes as the deceased person positioned in a kitchen cooking, smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer, and standing in full gear in a boxing ring.

See Campbell Robertson & Frances Robles, Rite of the Sitting Dead: Funeral Poses Mimic Life, The new York Times, June 21, 2014.

June 23, 2014 in Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Houston Woman Sues Funeral Home Over Care of Husband’s Body

RIPA recent widow in Houston, Texas is suing a local funeral home, claiming that the funeral home left her husband’s body in an unlocked garage across the street. Dora Roman, went to visit her husband’s body in the funeral home and found that he was wrapped in a plastic sheet, stored in an unrefrigerated garage, and was decomposing. Due to the lack of care in preserving the body, the family could not have a public viewing as planned, but instead held a memorial service after her husband’s body was cremated by a different funeral home.

See Nina Golgowski, Texas Widow Says Funeral Home Let Husband’s Body Decompose for 7 Days, New York Daily News, May 2, 2014.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 8, 2014 in Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Daughter Writes Brutally Honest Obit


Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick passed away at age 78 in Reno, Nevada.  Her obituary appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal on September 10, but it was not the typical fond remembrance.

Her daughter, Katherine Reddick, described a childhood of abuse and neglect experienced by her and her siblings.  They were often in and out of foster homes with their mother allegedly running an escort service.  After the obit went viral, Reddick’s brother said its purpose was “to bring awareness to child abuse . . . shame child abuse overall.”

Here is the full text.

See Audra Schroeder, Daughter’s Brutally Honest Obit for Her Mom Goes Viral, The Daily Dot, Sept. 13, 2013.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.  

April 30, 2014 in Death Event Planning, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CLE on POLST Paradigm

CLEThe American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI CLE) is presenting a CLE entitled, Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment: What Estate Planning, Elder Law and Health Law Attorneys and Health Law Professionals Need to Know About the POLST Paradigm, on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.  Here’s why you should attend:

The newest health care decision-making tool intended to carry out the wishes of persons at or near the end of life is the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST). POLST programs are designed to enhance communication between doctor and patient and ensure that the patient’s medical care reflects both the patient’s wishes and a well-informed, shared decision-making process.

Despite the fact that 19 states by statute or regulation have adopted POLST programs and 24 other states are evaluating or developing POLST programs, most estate planners, elder lawyers and health lawyers are not yet well informed about the POLST. Do you understand the essentials? 

Register today for this CLE webcast on POLST programs so you can join leading practitioners, Fellows of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and a geriatrician member of the National POLST Paradigm Task Force for an in depth discussion on the development of POLST programs, their impact on end-of-life care, and how this relates to you, your clients, and your practice.

April 30, 2014 in Conferences & CLE, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Father’s Shrine to Son Causes Legal Stir


Every morning for over 900 days, Fred Molai has visited his son’s grave at Standing Rock Cemetery in Kent, Ohio.

Adam Molai, a U.S. Navy petty officer, died in a rafting accident in 2011.  His father has created an elaborate shrine to him, which includes two large posters on poles over eight feet high.  After notifying Fred Molai that the posters violated cemetery rules, the cemetery gave him seven days to take them down or have them removed by cemetery officials.  Molai refused to take down the posters or put them on shorter poles.  He sued them in Portage County Common Pleas Court, which issued a temporary order in his favor blocking removal of the posters and ruled that the proper venue was the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Committee.  Molai says he plans to meet the 45 day deadline.

Molai bought 15 plots, at $500 each, and uses only five of them for his son’s monument.  He spends about 10 to 15 minutes every day at his son’s grave, saying the visits help him with his grief.

See Jim Carney, Kent Monument to Son Causes Legal Stir as Father Is Told to Take Down Posters at Cemetery, Akron Beacon Journal, Apr. 23, 2014.

April 29, 2014 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)