Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Saturday, March 25, 2017

How Afraid of Dying Are You?

Afraid of dyingOddly enough, atheists and extremely religious individuals have something in common: they are among the individuals least afraid of dying. Research suggests that those who lack belief in a higher power seek comfort in death. On the other hand, those who are religious for social or emotional benefits often tend to suffer from the most death anxiety, or persistent fear of one’s own death. The study specifically looked at 100 articles published between 1961 and 2014 to determine how religious beliefs affected death anxiety throughout the years.

See Stacy Liberatore, How Afraid Are YOU of Dying? Researchers Say Atheists and the Most Religious Are Least Scared, Daily Mail, March 24, 2017.

March 25, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Judge Allows Wife to Undergo IVF with Dead Husband's Sperm

IvfA Barcelona judge is allowing a woman to use her dead husband’s sperm to undergo in vitro fertilization. The prosecution argued against the ruling, stating that it was not possible to obtain her late husband’s consent—a moral argument, not a legal one. The couple started the process back in 2014, when the husband froze his sperm before undergoing an aggressive cancer treatment that potentially would make him sterile. One day before the cancer took the man’s life, the couple got married in the hospital. In the year proceeding, the woman tried to get pregnant four times, but Spanish law only permits the use of genetic material from a deceased person for twelve months after their death. With this ruling, the woman intends to make the most of her husband’s legacy.

See Judge Allows Woman to Undergo In Vitro Fertilization with Dead Husband’s Sperm, Fox News, March 23, 2017.

March 23, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 20, 2017

How Condolences Alleviate Grief

CondolencesFriends and family play a crucial role in supporting us during the loss of a loved one. Expressing condolences is a way to show compassion and concern for someone in their time of grief. There are several ways to express your condolences. You can participate in the funeral ritual where mourners find solace in those that attend. A donation is a good way to show your support of an initiative that was important to the deceased or their family. Another way is to write a sympathy note or send a gift; these are tangible items that prove the deceased mattered to you. Overall, condolences are true gestures that facilitate the healing process in a time of need.

See Robbie Miller Kaplan, The Power of Condolences, Legacy.com, March 5, 2017.

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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Todd Fisher Shares Details About His Mother & Sister's Memorial

Debbie carrieTodd Fisher, recently spoke about his mother, Debbie Reynolds, and sister, Carrie Fisher, at a screening for “Bright Lights.” He revealed some details about their combined upcoming memorial service, including that the memorial would be open to the public because his mother loved her fans. The memorial will be held at a 1,200-seat theater and livestreamed for those interested in watching the event. James Blunt will also perform a special tribute to Carrie with a song he wrote especially for that day. The memorial will be held on March 25 at Forest Law Memorial Park.

See Todd Fisher Shares Details About Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher Memorial, Fox News, March 18, 2017.

March 19, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawyer Publishes His Own Obituary While Still Alive

Eleveld obitBob Eleveld greeted those who know him with a bit of a shock this week when he posted his own obituary in the Grand Rapids Press. The obituary depicted a picture of Eleveld holding up a glass of wine with his life span ranging from 8/3/1936 – Not Yet. The “obituary” actually informed his loved ones and friends that he will host a “celebration of life” open house for the upcoming weekend. Eleveld has always been a creator of community, and the memorial was just another unusual way to bring people together. For Eleveld, cancer has brought him an uncertain reality, so it was important for him to gather his family and friends for an end-of-life celebration, as most people do not get such an opportunity.

See Mark Tower, Michigan Man - Still Very Much Alive - Publishes His Own Obituary, MLive, March 16, 2017.

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Woman Finds Tombstone Left in Her Front Yard

Tombstone front yardA California woman was shocked when she ventured out of her home to take the trash out and found a tombstone in her front yard. Donna Robert was stunned, running back inside to check the security cameras, but the footage turned up nothing. The police soon arrived and began to call the local cemeteries to see if they were missing a stone plot. Unfortunately, the cemeteries reported no missing property, and officials are still investigating to determine who left the tombstone and why.

See Woman Finds Tombstone Hidden in Her Front Yard, AOL, March 15, 2017.

March 16, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

John Hurt's Latest Roles to Release from Beyond the Grave

John hurtSir John Hurt recently passed away from a long battle with pancreatic cancer, but despite his poor health, he continued to work on several projects that will posthumously release this year. One film will portray his own experiences, depicting a once-famous screen-writer who is terminally ill in “That Good Night.” Hurt will also star in several other new releases, which include “My Name Is Lenny,” “Damascus Cover,” and “Darkest Hour.” 

See James Dunn, A Terminally Ill Writer Saying His Final Goodbyes and Former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain: John Hurt’s Last Roles Set for Release from Beyond the Grave, Daily Mail, January 28, 2017. 


March 15, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Film | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Brazilian Woman Celebrates Her Own Funeral While Still Alive

Funeral live A Brazilian woman has fulfilled her fourteen-year-long dream of experiencing her own funeral while still alive. Vera Lucia da Silva arranged for herself to lie in a coffin all day, while her family and friends pretended she was dead. The ceremony took place on the Day of the Dead in South America at a funeral home. The Brazilian woman has always had a fascination for funeral ceremonies, so it was no surprise that she described the day as “the best day of her life.”  

See Janet Tappin Coelho, ‘Being Dead Was the Best Day of My Life!’ Woman Pretends to Have Died and Spends a Day Lying in a Coffin so She Can Experience Her Own Funeral, Daily Mail, November 3, 2016. 


March 11, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival Salutes a Frozen Corpse

Frozen dead The Frozen Dead Guy Days festival takes place in Nederland, Colorado, where the small town celebrates Bredo Morstoel, a cryogenically frozen Norwegian grandfather, who has been dead since 1989. Morstoel’s frozen body moved from California to Nederland in 1993 when his wife and son moved to the town of 1,500 to start a cryonics facility. A caretaker hikes 2,400 pounds of dry ice a month to the hilltop where Morstoel’s body is being preserved. The festival in Morstoel’s honor sponsors a coffin race, a costume ball, bowling with frozen fowl, and a polar plunge. 

See Colorado Town’s Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival Salutes Chilly Corpse, Fox News, March 10, 2017. 


March 11, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dr. Robert Kane Never Stopped Pushing for Long-Term Care System Reform

KaneDr. Robert Kane spent most of his life studying aging and campaigning against nursing homes, burdensome regulations, and a failing long-term care system. Kane was in the midst of leading a project to find solutions in order to fix the problems with America’s long-term care system, arguing that the system was ill-suited to treat chronic conditions. In his last forty years, Kane was known for his critiques and scientific analysis of aging and long-term care systems in the United States and abroad. The longtime University of Minnesota professor passed away on Monday at the age of 77. 

See Jackie Crosby, Obituary: U’s Robert Kane, Renowned Expert on Aging, Never Stopped Pushing for Change, StarTribune, March 9, 2017. 


March 10, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)