Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Billionaires Are Stockpiling Land that Could Be Used in the Apocalypse — Here's Where They're Going

ZombieWhether it be idle fantasy or serious concern, most Americans have considered what they would do during the onset of an impending zombie apocalypse. These end-of-the-world scenarios are commonly played out on television and in theaters. Whatever the root cause, it seems as though fear of some catastrophic event is buried in the American subconscious. And, while most do not have the resources available to prepare for such a scenario, the wealthiest among us do and are. An article from Forbes suggests the superrich are buying up significant swathes of property in America’s heartland. There, the climate is mild, the land ripe for farming, and the low population density conducive to survival. While many of the billionaires who do own massive tracts of property have not publicly acknowledged it was purchased for use in-case-of-emergency, if there were a worldwide catastrophe, they seem to be the best prepared to weather the storm.

See Melia Robinson, Billionaires Are Stockpiling Land that Could Be Used in the Apocalypse — Here's Where They're Going, Business Insider, June 14, 2017.

June 15, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Family Cited for Botched Attempt at Viking Funeral

ScottsThe Barstad family found themselves in a bit of trouble for a recent attempt to adhere to the last wishes of the family’s patriarch, Norman Barstad. Barstad was 92-years old when he passed away last week. His final request was simple: he wanted a full Viking burial on the water. Unbeknownst to local neighbors, fishermen, the Nevada County Health Department, or the Sheriff, the Barstad family had fully acquiesced.

According to witnesses, the Barstads drove up to Scotts Flat Lake in a Dodge truck pulling what looked to be a re-purposed pontoon. While the actual make-up of the boat varies based on witness’ accounts, the proceeding events that unfolded do not. Once the makeshift pyre reached about 200 yards into the lake, a massive explosion rocked the craft and jettisoned pieces of debris and the Barstad patriarch into the surrounding area.

A fisherman on the lake at the time of the explosion claims to have been hit by a detached finger. Sherry Smith, a resident, heard the explosion but did not come out of her home until she heard a thump on her roof. The sound on the roof was caused by a detached leg that hit her in the head after she exited her home.

As for the Barstad family, they suffer no regret. Jimmie Barstad, the family member responsible for dousing the craft with gasoline and stuffing it with illegal fireworks, said that he was proud to send his father off according to Viking tradition, despite the fine and the fact the family is still picking up pieces of Dad.

See Chip Day, Family Cited for Viking Funeral on Local Lake, Nevada County Scooper, June 2017.

Special thanks to Deborah G. Matthews for bringing this article to my attention.

Please note, this article does not come from a reliable news source. 

June 13, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Humor | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Death Can Wait

ReinerCarl Reiner’s most recent book is suitably entitled “Too Busy to Die.” The 95-year old comedic legend thanks his vivid dreams as inspiration for his oftentimes zany ideas. Reiner, creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and director of movies like “The Jerk” and “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” said in a recent interview that as long as his mind keeps popping, he will keep going. Reiner will be featured in an HBO documentary on Monday, June 5. The show features stereotype-shattering nonagenarians like Reiner and provides a look into the still-vibrant lives of individuals over 90.

See Dan Hyman, For Carl Reiner and His Fellow Nonagenarians, Death Can Wait, New York Times, June 2, 2017.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

June 5, 2017 in Books, Current Events, Elder Law, Film, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Michigan Graverobber Arrested

41023EFA00000578-4564192-image-a-2_1496352815310Lisa Corcoran, age 44, was arrested Thursday for allegedly stealing over 188 items from 24 different grave sites. She is accused of stealing a $500 handmade bench, flowers, and a number of other miscellaneous objects. She was caught thanks to a witness that saw her driving out of the cemetery with her car full of flowers. Investigators were able to track the license plate number noted by the witness to Corcoran. At her home, investigators found stolen items throughout the house and many of the rooms were decorated with the stolen flowers.

See Abigail Miller, Michigan Woman Arrested After Stealing 188 Items Including a $500 Bench from Two Cemeteries to Decorate Her Home, Daily Mail.com, June 1, 2017.

June 4, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The 90/10 Rule

90--10Louis S. Harrison, specializing in sophisticated tax, corporate, and estate planning, is proposing a new rule for planners: the 90/10 rule. While many are familiar with the 80/20 rule, 80% of revenue comes from 20% of clients, the 90/10 rule is designed to increase attorney/planner happiness rather than revenue. The 90/10 rule underlies the idea that 90% of aggravation in a firm comes from 10% of clients. Harrison advocates for the idea that this 10% should be avoided and offers a few bits of advice on how to do so. His basic premise depends on attorneys and planners using their common sense. If a client has burned through multiple attorneys, disparages former attorneys, or is hiring you in order to avoid paying a previous attorney, it may be better to simply say “no” and avoid the aggravation.

See Louis S. Harrison, Avoiding the Dark Side: Darth Vader and the 90/10 Rule, Wealth Management.com, May 18, 2017.

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

May 28, 2017 in Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Border Patrol Agents Find Marijuana in Casket

Marijuana casketArizona Border Patrol agents stopped a hearse at an immigration checkpoint and found over sixty-seven pounds of marijuana in a casket. After the driver gave several inconsistent statements and the unusualness of the circumstances, the agents conducted a canine unit check on the hearse. The canines sniffed out approximately $33,000 worth of marijuana.

See Arizona Border Agents Find 67 Pounds of Marijuana in Casket, Fox News, May 2, 2017.

May 6, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cremation of Obese Corpse Sets Funeral Home on Fire

Cremation fireA Cincinnati funeral home got a huge surprise when the cremation flames from an overly obese body spread starting a fire in the building. The flames first spread to a cremation container and then surrounding roof material. It took firefighters two hours to tackle the blaze. The funeral homeowner has assured the public that is crematorium is well protected for situations like this, but the blaze will cost him approximately $30,000 in damages.

See Cremation of ‘Overly Obese’ Corpse Sets Funeral Home on Fire, Yahoo, April 27, 2017.

Special thanks to Steven Cannon (Attorney, Gardner Law, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.  

May 3, 2017 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Is Laughter the Best Medicine?

LaughterLaughter truly is the best medicine, so it is no surprise that one-third of Brits want to be remembered for their humor when they die. Specifically, 36% of Brits prioritized humor over every other trait, while 41% said their most enduring memories with loved ones included their jokes, smiles, and laughs. As for how they want to be defined in death, most Brits claimed that levity and amusement were the most-desired characteristics. Further, the study looked at how memories impact coping with death. Many of the survey participants felt that their memories of loved ones were tainted because of the poor end-of-life care they received. Losing a loved one can be a traumatic time, but the right support and laughter may just be the necessary coping mechanisms.

See Now That’s Having the Last Laugh! A Third of Brits Want to Be Remembered for Their Sense of Humor After They Die, Daily Mail, March 16, 2017.

April 1, 2017 in Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | 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)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Texas Family Writes Honest Obituary for "Evil" Relative

In memoryLeslie Ray Charping’s death presented the perfect opportunity for his family to write a brutally honest obituary memorializing their “evil” relative. According to the obituary, Chapring left “behind two relieved children” as well as “countless other victims.” His family further wrote that he “became a model example of bad parenting combined with mental illness and a complete commitment to drinking, drugs, womanizing and being generally offensive.” Overall, Charping “possessed no redeeming qualities besides quick sarcasm, which was amusing during his sober days.”  

See Obit Proves Family Couldn’t Be Happier Their ‘Evil’ Relative Is Dead, Fox News, February 10, 2017.


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