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ASU professor wants tax protection for the living dead

TEMPE, Ariz. – An Arizona State University professor said America’s tax laws need to be changed to cover zombies.

In a tongue in cheek article in the Iowa Law Review, professor Adam Chodorow notes that America’s legal system doesn’t answer an important question.

“Where is the line between life and death,” said Chodorow. “It comes up primarily in organ donations, but in a whole number of other areas. It turns out that it’s not so obvious when someone should be considered dead. Different states have different standards, so you might be dead in California but still living in Arizona.”

Arizona law doesn’t have a definition. Capitol Media Services said that probate law said that a “determination of death must be made in accordance with accepted medical standards.”

In some states, the determination of death involved brain activity, while in others, it just means the heart has stopped beating.

And what about former baseball great Ted Williams? He died in 2002, but his frozen remains are in a cryonics facility in Scottsdale.

“You have a number of people who think that they can be frozen and be brought back,” said Chodorow. “While that is perhaps beyond current medical technology, at some point, medical science is advancing. What we now consider death may not be the line anymore. It may be possible to bring people back.”

Chodorow said if someone is brought back, there are several questions that need to be answered.

“Do they get their old Social Security number back? If their estate has been probated, do they get their property back? If they paid estate taxes, do they get a refund of the estate taxes paid? There are a whole series of questions that arise when somebody comes back from the dead,” Chodorow said.

Chodorow said he brought up the questions in the hopes of “starting a discussion” on the issues.

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