Law and the Undead

I love writing. And research. It’s not at all surprising that I’m in legal research/knowledge management/thinky stuff.

The other thing I love is when I find someone who can do any of that better than I can. And with that, I give a tip of the hat to Adam Chodorow of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law for what may possibly be one of the best academic paper titles of all time:

Death and Taxes and Zombies.

This is particularly impressive since taxes and taxation policy have never really grabbed me. But Adam is no fool – he has correctly surmised that by adding “and zombies” to something will suddenly make it more compelling.

What is his paper about?

The U.S. stands on the precipice of a financial disaster, and Congress has done nothing but bicker. Of course, I refer to the coming day when the undead walk the earth, feasting on the living. A zombie apocalypse will create an urgent need for significant government revenues to protect the living, while at the same time rendering a large portion of the taxpaying public dead or undead. The government’s failure to anticipate or plan for this eventuality could cripple its ability to respond effectively, putting us all at risk.
This article fills a glaring gap in the academic literature by examining how the estate and income tax laws apply to the undead. Beginning with the critical question of whether the undead should be considered dead for estate tax purposes, the article continues on to address income tax issues the undead are likely to face. In addition to zombies, the article also considers how estate and income tax laws should apply to vampires and ghosts. Given the difficulties identified herein of applying existing tax law to the undead, new legislation may be warranted. However, any new legislation is certain to raise its own set of problems. The point here is not to identify the appropriate approach. Rather, it is to goad Congress and the IRS into action before it is too late.

You bet I’m going to read it. You can too: Death and Taxes and Zombies

(note that his best material is in the footnotes, including a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s  Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse blog [who knew?]. See? I told you it was worth reading)



About InfoLawyer

I'm an cybersecurity, data protection and privacy lawyer lawyer at the Toronto law firm of McCarthy Tetrault. When not writing here, I am writing restaurant reviews for Precedent legal magazine or using the backs of restaurant napkins to work out the odds of whether I can be replaced by an artificially intelligent machine (this week's odds are 70:30).
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