Saturday, January 7, 2017
Former Chiayi County Council Speaker Tung Hsiang recently passed away, and his funeral procession included fifty pole dancers standing on multicolored Jeeps. The former speaker’s son detailed a dream he had in which his father insisted that his memorial be hilarious. The funeral procession included the dancers, traditional totems, drummers, luxury cars, and flag bearers, all of which represented the politician’s love of crowded places. The practice of hiring pole dancers for memorials became popular in Taiwan in the 1980s, when the females were hired to cry at the processions.
See Steve George & Jane Zhang, 50 Pole Dancers Escort Taiwan Politician’s Funeral Procession, CNN, January 6, 2017.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Chris Connors did not play by the rules, and his family certainly reflected that in his obituary. The obituary starts out by letting readers know that he died from whisky and stubbornness while cramming 1,000 years of life into sixty-seven calendar years. Connors was known for his career on Wall Street, his ocean swims in January, and leading rousing nights out on the town with friends. Connors wife and three children were by his side when he passed from ALS and pancreatic cancer on December 9.
See Man’s Family Gives Him the Ultimate Obituary, Fox News, December 16, 2016.
Friday, December 9, 2016
Do you want to see how you will look when you are old? AgingBooth is a new app that uses your pictures and instantly ages your face. This face aging machine can be downloaded to your iPhone or iPod Touch and used on your family, friends, or colleagues. Are you ready to face your future?
See AgingBooth, Pivi & Co.
Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this app to my attention.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
A retired long-haul trucker recently passed away hours before the first presidential debate, saying that he would “rather die than watch the debates.” After his passing, his obituary has attracted substantial attention, pinning his blunt humor on the candidates’ argumentative debates. He was a confirmed non-voter, and the obituary does not give any insight on his views of either candidate.
See Chris Summers, He Said He’d Rather Die than Watch the Debates . . . and He Kept His Word! Hilarious Obituary of Pennsylvania Trucker Who Worried ‘the Nation Is Going Someplace in a Handbasket’, Daily Mail, October 20, 2016.
Monday, September 5, 2016
An obituary cartoon can move people in the moment, reminding them of wonderful memories, but to some, its impact and worth are meaningless. The obituary cartoon is often a staple of the industry, attracting readers who lament over images that reflect their perception of the departed. Some argue that obituary cartoons have not become an anachronism due to their constant evolution throughout time. Indeed, the key is originality because in doing so, the cartoon reminds us who we are and what we value.
See Michael Cavna, So Someone Famous Has Just Died. Is the Obituary Cartoon Good or Bad for Business?, Washington Post, September 1, 2016.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
Friday, August 12, 2016
An obituary detailing the life and death of William Ziegler is colorful and true to self. The obituary talks about those that he left behind—four children, five grandchildren, and the potted meat industry. After war, Ziegler moved back to New Orleans to become a fireman for the next 25 years until he realized running away from burning buildings made more sense. He had no wishes for a burial service but would like everyone to drink a Schaefer Light in his honor, and hey, if he ever owed you a beer, you can buy him another in heaven.
See William Ziegler, Obituaries, The Times-Picayune, August 12, 2016.
Special thanks to Elizabeth Carter (Professor of Law, LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center) for bringing this article to my attention.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
This week, a New Jersey man’s “loving wife” and “longtime girlfriend” placed dueling obituaries in the same newspaper. The wife’s obituary states that he is survived by his wife, son, and two other children from a previous relationship. While the girlfriend’s obituary explains that he is survived by his son, six siblings, and longtime girlfriend. A funeral home spokesman clarifies that both obituaries were necessary because both significant others wanted it done their way.
See New Jersey Man’s Wife, Girlfriend Place Side-by-Side Obituaries in Newspaper, Fox News, August 5, 2016.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
When we think about preparing a will, we think about a somber, reflective experience. One where you identify your assets, name beneficiaries, and assign fiduciary duties. But does it all have to be so serious? We can certainly find some humor in accumulating enough garbage to make having a will upon your inevitable death worth it. And hey, who knows, maybe you want your remains poured out on the final drop of Splash Mountain.
See How To Prepare a Will, The Onion, May 18, 2016.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
I have previously discussed the ongoing issues surround the estate of late actor and comedian Robin Williams. One unique thing about the estate planning that was done for Robin Williams was the planning for how his likeness will be used as well as other unique personal attributes. “While Mr. Williams created a multi-tiered estate plan, he was sure to include the right to profit, or, more accurately, to curtail a person, company or entity from profiting from his likeness and publicity for 25 years following his death.” Robins Williams placed a blanket ban on the use of his likeness and other personal attributes and then bequeathed the rights to a non-profit foundation in a trust document. People often use trusts as a way of avoiding the probate process.
See Robin Williams: Not Just Another Celebrity Estate, Wealth Management, February 19, 2016.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.
Sunday, January 3, 2016
People will leave their property after death to all manner of strange causes, charities, schemes, or family members but rarely do you see property going directly to an animal. But some eccentric souls have left behind millions to their beloved pets ranging from cats and dogs to hens and monkeys. In one case, a European aristocrat left her German Shepherd $75 million which has more than tripled in value over the last 20 years and now provides for the needs of the fourth generation of the dog's line. Then there is the world famous Grumpy Cat which has a huge net worth, estimated between $1 and $100 million, although his money did not come from inheritance in this case. While millionaire animals are very rare, they still go to show that an estate can be set up in almost any way to the benefit of the person, or animal, that estate owner might want.
See Brad Tuttle, The 10 Richest Pets of All Time, Time Money, October 5, 2015.