by Mr Meanor
How to make sure your family survives you not surviving
|Dear Mr. Meanor:
I'm worried about what would happen if I were to die. Any tips?
Worried about Posterity
Dear Nobody Will Remember You:
Many people worry about what would happen if they died. They are mostly worried about what will happen to their money and property. This proves that even after death people are greedy.
It used to be simple. In rich families the eldest son got everything and everyone else got shipped off to a nunnery or the army. Peasant families had to be satisfied with a brawl over the dead man's clothing (usually the only thing he actually owned). Women weren't allowed to own anything except cooking and cleaning tools and nobody (including the women) wanted these. This worked well for centuries.
Then in the 1940's the US Congress decided that they wanted to get in on the action, too. They created an inheritance tax, death tax, transfer tax, capital gains tax, and even reclassified burial plots as "underground living" to get the property tax. This proves that Congress is especially greedy.
Now that you know about all of these taxes, you can participate in every Americans favorite sport: avoiding taxation by any means possible. One of the first things that you need to do is make out a will. This document specifies who will get what out of your estate. Most people name family members, loyal servants, and charities. These are the sane ones. Other people leave the money to pets, fictional characters, and the space-alien worshiping cult that they belong to. This is when family members come forward (and out of the wood work) to claim that dear Aunt Bev was clearly out of her sweet little old mind and she wanted everything to go to her loving family. The alien cult counters by announcing that they have spoken with the aliens who have passed on the message that Bev want the money to go toward sending all of humanity to the planet Pufalump. This starts a round of legal savagery, character assassinations, destroyed friendships, and more bad feelings than a minor civil war. Legal experts call this "contesting the will" or as it is know on Court TV "ratings".
The will is a simple way out of all this nastiness, though. Just make sure the lawyer draws up something simple that will hold up in any court in America. This will not stop people from wanting to contest the will. It simply transfers all of your money, built up over a lifetime of saving, working, and deprivation to the lawyer. That way there is nothing left to fight over. It may even pull the family closer, as well. For example when the lawyer presents his final bill, the members of the family will have to sell their homes to pay it and live in a two bedroom apartment. That is guaranteed to bring everyone closer. Physically, at least. After all, doesn't the lawyer deserve more money than the GNP of France for helping bring families together?
With the liquid assets gone, the family can turn its attention to the disposal of the house and other physical belongings. They will need to walk through the house first and make sure that the lawyer isn't measuring the kitchen for his new Sub-Zero refrigerator and that the cult members are not camped in the basement. Then all of the family members can stake a claim to what was promised to them. If you really want to keep things interesting, put a note on the most expensive thing that reads "I want cousin Kelly to have this". Make sure that there is more than one cousin Kelly though. You won't be there to enjoy the riot, but it will give your favorite relative s a chance to pocket any small item they want in the chaos.
If you go to one of these vulture feedings yourself, bring a large handbag or someone who carries a large handbag. They may be able to stuff that credenza that you've had your eye on into it. If someone catches you, claim that it has great sentimental value because you used to hid in it as a child. When the fact that it was purchased at auction three years ago is brought up, act hurt and say that the spirit of the old credenza that used to be there was transferred to this one. This will cause more arguing because there never was a credenza, just walk in closets. That is not what is important. What IS important is that while the argument in raging, all sorts of little things are going in the large handbag.
After the family has assuaged their grief by stealing everything you once owned, they need to see about getting rid of the evidence -- I mean putting you to rest. Many people are making arrangements in advance. People in the funeral industry are thrilled about this. They get to play in to the customer's insecurities and vanity and sell them the $16,000 mahogany "Ever-slumber" model with the optional cloth-of-gold pillow (for only $800 more) and the full "Angels Weep" all-day funeral package. (After the customers pass away, the most they can usually get the family to pay for is pine and 10 minutes with a priest. If it were legal, most families would rather just chuck their dearly departed in a refrigerator box and dig a hole in the backyard.) Then you can spend the next 25 years paying it off. This does have the benefit of spending all of your money while you are alive so that the government cannot pick your pockets while you are lying in your casket-- which, by the way, cost more than your first car.
You will need to make sure that you get a premium spot in the graveyard--excuse me, I mean Perpetual Rest Lawn. You may be underground, but you want to make sure that you have a sight worth coming for so your loved ones won't be bored talking to the ground. This little 8' by 4' plot of land will cost more than the land you put your first home on. The funeral director will insinuate that this is because you will occupy it forever. Actually, the plot costs so much because Congress passed a secret bill requiring all graves to be made escape proof. You can thank Strom Thurmond for this. He did not sponsor the bill or anything, but he was directly responsible for it. The man was a senator for 137 years!!!! Did anybody really think that he wasn't a zombie? Congress made the bill in secret because they did not want the American public to panic. They knew the American public pitches a hissy fit over a penny tax on gasoline and they could just imagine the uproar over zombies.
So, there you have it. A plan for what to do in case you die. Don't worry about your family not having any money. After you die they can contact the funeral home and tell the director that they don't want the funeral package after all and get a refund. Then after they get out the refrigerator box and shovels, they can book tickets to Aruba to help themselves feel better.