Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Keith Richards, estate planning, body disposal and keeping it Respectable


Last week’s post mentioned Keith Richards and it reminded me of one death-related story that Keith Richards is famous (or perhaps more accurately infamous) for. In particular, the way that Keith Richards (allegedly) disposed of his father’s ashes, as profiled in more detail below.

Certainly, one aspect of estate planning that often receives less attention than many other areas is body disposal.

Ideally, a will maker’s wishes in relation to body disposal should be communicated to immediate family members or the executor of the estate.

A memorandum of directions, letter of wishes or similar style document is often the best mechanism in this regard.

A Word version of a template memorandum of directions is available at the View Legal website – www.viewlegal.com.au (via the ‘learn’, then ‘resources’, then ‘adviser toolkit’ tabs) or download our app –
  1. Apple – https://appsto.re/au/7ayT6.i
  2. Android – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=view.legal.mod
At least in western culture, the three most traditional body disposal approaches are:
  1. burial; 
  2. cremation; 
  3. burial at sea. 
Some alternative approaches include:
  1. Diamonds – see - http://www.lifegem.com/?gclid=CI-UxtmO4NACFYkrvQodF_UJAw
  2. Mummification – see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mummy
  3. Cryogenically frozen – see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryopreservation and the announcement of an Australian firm offering the solution – see – http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/human-body/southern-cryonics-plans-to-break-ground-on-worldleading-nsw-facility-in-2017/news-story/145d76fec25f4827b229fb09e29579e3
  4. Coral reefs – see - http://www.eternalreefs.com/
  5. Composting - http://www.urbandeathproject.org/
  6. Deluxe cardboard box - http://www.funeraldirectorsaustralia.com.au/cardboard-coffins-australia/
  7. Vinyl records – see - http://www.andvinyly.com/
  8. Firecrackers – see - http://www.ashestoashes.com.au/
  9. Snorting (ie the Keith Richards play; note - the mixing of ashes with illicit substances is generally regarded as optional) – see - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1323930/Keith-Richards-I-really-DID-snort-fathers-ashes.html
  10. Smoking – as a variation on the snorting idea, friends of rap singer Tupac allegedly mixed his ashes with marijuana and smoked them – see - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/tupac-shakurs-ashes-smoked-2346879.html
  11. An hour glass – see - http://www.inthelighturns.com/hourglass-urns.html
  12. Glass orb – see - http://www.cremationsolutions.com/information/cremation-urn-information/cremation-glass-keepsake-information
  13. Snow Globes – see - http://www.bullworks.net/invest/globe.htm
  14. Space flight (as made famous by James Doohan, the actor who played Scotty in Star Trek, whose ashes were sent into space on a Elon Musk SpaceX rocket launch) – see - http://www.celestis.com/
  15. Shot out of a cannon – Hunter S. Thompson style, see – http://www.espn.com/espn/news/story?id=2139349, perhaps helping deliver on his famous comment that - 
‘Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”’