Legally dead

Boy, they sure have you working overtime lately Gfactor. Just wanted to say nice job on the staff report today.

More like I had a bunch of free time back in March. :wink:

Thanks. :smiley:

Jeez, I thought you were saying Gfactor was legally dead.

I knew about the 7 years clause. I didn’t know there were so many people out there - 60,000? - who might be in this situation.

Good job, Gfactor.

Boy, when it happened to Irene Dunne in My Favorite Wife they made it seem a lot more madcap.

What about “mostly” dead? :dubious:


Well done, yet again. I wonder what percentage of John/Jane Does that show up in morgues around the country are part of that 60+K?

But what would someone in Tom Hanks’ character’s position do? The movie sort of focuses on his lost relationship with Helen Hunt. I was more interested in the practical aspects of returning. Would FedEx owe him some massive overtime? Would Helen Hunt have to repay any life insurance she may have received? Surely FedEx would have some sort of death benefit for its executives. What about Uncle Sam? Surely he would be glad to see Tom back and want to see his tax returns ASAP. How would these things get done?

Your example of John Burney involved someone who intended to commit a fraud. in Castaway, Tom Hanks has no intention of disappearing. The event of his plane crash made it happen on accident.

My hunch is no. But I’ll think about it.

Would Helen Hunt have to repay any life insurance she may have received?  

Probably life insurance.

He probably would not have earned much income while stranded. He might, of course, have passive income from a variety of sources. But not for long. Because he fell under the imminent peril rule, his assets would been the property of his heirs pretty early on. And his “final” income tax return and, if necessary, estate tax returns would have been filed by his personal representative.

I’m guessing he’d complete the returns and submit them, if in fact he had sufficient income to require returns, and returns were not already filed.

A more interesting question to me is this: if estate taxes had been paid, would he be entitled to a refund? I asked my dad, who specializes in the area. He agreed with me that in such a case, a reappearing decedent could seek a refund. But he pointed out that the statute of limitations for such a claim is three years. It is possible the rule would be relaxed in such a case.

The example was offered as an illustration of someone presumed dead who shows up alive. I realize it isn’t the Castaway scenario.

Incidentally, the movie’s title is Cast Away (two words), not Castaway.


Just want to point out that you’re awesome Gfactor. Thanks for the thoughtful reply and research that must have gone into it. Have non-fraudulent disappearances/reappearances happened in recent times?

In the purely fictional Cast Away [nods to dot com] scenario, I would think that FedEx would be eager to appear thankful for the safe return of their lost employee. After all, he was well liked by the company and on the fast-track up the ladder. I would think that FedEx would want to cover any costs associated with their guy getting back on his feet and not hurting his heirs by having them pay back life insurance, etc.

Can you just imagine how hard it would be to get things back to where you were when you left? I’m not even talking about the trauma of losing a hot babe like Helen Hunt.

Now that you mention it:

–I found a story in the April 13, 2003 edition of Scotland on Sunday about a teenager who reappeared after being gone for four years–in the middle of the trial of her alleged murderer. But it turns out she was hiding at her boyfriend’s house.

–Here’s one about a couple of women who had been presumed dead in Moscow. They were kidnapped, and kept as sex slaves for four years.

–There’s the warden’s wife But they’re thinking about charging her as an accomplice so I’m not sure that counts.

–Here’s one about a guy named James Simmons (used to be Barre Cox). Disapeared for 16 years. He says he was attacked and had amnesia. When he resurfaced, he was the gay pastor of a predominantly gay and lesbian congregation, and claimed to have no memory of his wife and child. When a member of his congregation recognized him, he was using the name, social security number and birth date of another man. Some people don’t believe his story. Nevertheless, he went to court “to have his death certificate reversed and his estate returned to him.”