Legal Implications of the Undead and Taxes in the Zombie Apocalypse

Professor Adam Chodorow von der Arizona State University hat ein Paper über “Death and Taxes and Zombies” eingereicht, ‘ne Zusammenfassung davon gibt’s bei Law and the Multiverse. Das Teil ist so ziemlich genau das, was man sich darunter vorstellt: Zombie Science aus der absurden Perspektive von Bürokraten und Buchhaltern:

The most pressing tax issue raised by a zombie apocalypse is the application of the so-called “death tax,” which imposes a tax on the transfer of the estate of a “decedent.” Zombies have been described variously as the “walking dead,” the “undead,” and the “living dead,” raising the question whether the estate tax should apply when a taxpayer becomes a zombie or, in the alternative, after a person’s zombie has been dispatched.

The definition of death, and therefore of a decedent, has generally been left to the states, each of which has its own definition. That said, there has been a recent trend away from a definition that focuses on heart function to one that focuses on brain function. Whether people who become zombies would be considered dead for state law purposes depends both on the definition used and the type of zombie involved.

It seems a stretch to conclude that those who transform seamlessly into zombies should be considered dead. They never lose heart or brain function, though they now function quite differently from before. While it might be tempting to declare them dead, significant line-drawing problems would arise as one tried to distinguish between zombies and those who have suffered some mental or physical breakdown. Declaring such zombies dead would open the door to declaring dead a wide range of people currently considered to be alive.

Death and Taxes and Zombies