Zombie Trusts

Disclaimer: This column does not create an attorney client relationship between the author, Bobbie Pratt of Pratt & Witt, LLP, and the readers of this column and privilege is not triggered. If you have any actual legal problems relating to the current or future apocalypses please consult an attorney. If you have any general questions about the law, you may contact Ms. Pratt at aftereverafter3 at gmail dot com. You may not visit her office; she does not have one; permanent locations make her too easy to locate; she believes in the overuse of semicolons.

From the comments on our last legal post:

As the stars align, and inevitable zombie apocalypse draws ever closer, is it possible to establish a trust to behest my considerable wealth to my soon to be deceased self? What are the tax implications.


Delusional in Derbyshire

Dear Derbyshire,

Alas I am forced to write this on a waterlogged sheet of paper with a badly chewed pen I stole from a child in an ice cream shop.  My computer has “taken a vacation” and may, if I bring it a dozen eggs and a bottle of malt liquor, decide to grudgingly transcribe this note at a later date.  Hopefully tomorrow.  My computer needs to learn the concept of “deadlines” or else it will be forced to understand the concept of “drowned in a river of sewage.”

To answer your question I must rely on my tattered copy of Dukeminier’s immortal text, eighth edition.  Some pages *may* be missing but I think I can figure out that the slayer statute refers to spouses who kill their spouses and are thus prevented from inheriting their spouse’s millions and not Buffy.

A trust must have 3 patries: A settlor (or grantor, the person who makes the trust), a trustee (the person who manages the trust), and a beneficiary.  If the trustee and the beneficiary are the same person, then the trust merges and it is no longer a trust.

You do not want this because zombies are likely unable to hold legal title.  So before you move forward, you must find someone, or some entity who is willing to manage this trust for you.  I recommend a bank with shady business ventures as they’ll likely last the longest and will have the resources to fulfill your wishes–assuming they don’t capture your body for science and/or target practice.

Second, since the beneficiary will be your undead self, that will put this trust in the realm of testamentary trusts: a trust that forms by will as opposed to something you make during your lifetime.  In other words, you need to die before the trust is triggered.

In the last advice column–back when electronic devices knew their place in the world were unfortunate slaves to humanity’s hubris–we discussed the difficulties of pet trusts.  In a private trust, a beneficiary must be ascertainable, and is owed fiduciary duties by the trustee.  In other words, they have to be a legally recognized entity, i.e. a person. A charitable trust, on the other hand, can be for a purpose rather than a person.  The purpose here being “Give my undead self some brains” or in more “legal” terminology, “I establish a trust consisting of my stocks, investments, and real property, the proceeds of which should be used for the care and maintenance of the undead entity known as [name] for so long as her basic neurological functions continue.”

Tax implications: Assuming you die and become a zombie after the estate tax exemptions expire, your estate will likely be subject to a 35% tax after a 5 million dollar exemption.  If this is a concern for you, I strongly recommend you email me directly so I can discuss your estate, needs, and my legal fees in person…


Bobbie Pratt


2 thoughts on “Zombie Trusts

  1. Ah, very enlightening. I note that the American death-tax exemptions are far more generous than those here in the UK. I shall make arrangements for the New World immediately.

    Delusional in Derbyshire

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