Bring Out Your Dead Checkbook

FTC Proposes New Guidelines for Collecting Debt from Dead People
Ylan Q. Mui, The Washington Post (November 22, 2010)
The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to revise the protocol surrounding two of life’s touchiest subjects: debt and death.

 

Are Cemeteries the New Safe Investment?
Patrick Collinson, The Guardian (October 16, 2010)
With a shortage of space in cemeteries, private operators claim there are healthy returns to be had by buying burial plots

Here are a couple different angles on the economics of modern death. The top article examines the ever expanding world of debt collection from the dead. Postmortem debt typically falls on a spouse or family member, but a proposed policy revision will widen the pool to include other legal representatives.

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The Death Reference Desk has been covering various aspects of the postmortem economy so these debt collection issues come as no surprise. An entirely different side of these economic concerns is the money that some investors are pouring into life-insurance policies. Meg wrote about that situation here. And everyone can read about the economic problems people face with death and dying under our insurance tag.

Some of the earliest death and the economy articles that I followed, involved unclaimed bodies filling morgues. These aren’t unidentified bodies, rather dead bodies where the next-of-kin know that the corpse is in the morgue but cannot afford to have the body sent to a funeral home.

And then there is the Cemetery-as-Investment side of these economic question. The Cemeteryscapes blog did an excellent post on this very topic. The Guardian article at the top also discusses how London cemeteries are becoming possible investment opportunities.

Buyer beware. That’s all I’m saying.

These cemetery discussions reminded me of an early Death Ref post that I did on a cemetery in foreclosure in California.

It was an exceptionally sad story then and remains so today.

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