Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, December 25, 2020

Modern death: new ways of paying tribute

Estate planningThere are many ways to pay tribute to those who pass, and the traditions vary throughout cultures. From ordinary funerals to pyramids and mausoleums, memorials have varied for centuries. One thing that has remained the same: when people are important to you, the monuments will be elaborate and meaningful. 

As the pandemic continues to plague the world, memorials have been a bit different. The wealthy have not been able to memorialize their loved ones in the same elaborate ways. Thus, wealthy memorials—and others—have changed drastically. "The emphasis is also shifting from the physical construction to the experience, at least for the mourners left behind. Memorials are still elaborate but in a very different way."

According to Kevin Toolis, the wealthy have always spent more on death events. However, with environmental concerns and religious traditions, memorials have continued to evolve. 

Toolis stated, "In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has made people, particularly in the west, even more afraid of death, exacerbated by the fear of dying alone, and with bodies regarded as biologically contaminated." 

Either way, memorialization has remained a tradition and a ritual for the living. 

See Helen Barrett, Modern death: new ways of paying tribute, Financial Times, November 23, 2020. 

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


Current Affairs, Current Events, Death Event Planning, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink


Here's a recent podcast that discussed how people are handling the rituals around death: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/20/podcasts/the-daily/home-funeral-guides.html. While not the focus, the author discusses differences in states' laws surrounding the practices.

Posted by: Linda Couch | Jan 3, 2021 8:47:55 AM

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