Over half a century after his death, a court has ruled on where legendary Native American Jim Thorpe’s remains will stay. Although this case is unusual, families fighting over burial places is not.
In 1953, two small Pennsylvania towns decided to merge and name their new town “Jim Thorpe” in honor of the athlete. Even though it is unlikely Thorpe ever visited the area, the new town built a memorial to him and convinced his wife to have Thorpe’s remains interred there. Now, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, in an article titled “Court: Remains of Jim Thorpe Can Remain in Jim Thorpe,” a court has decided that his remains should remain in that town.
This case was unusual.
Thorpe’s descendants were relying on a federal law that allows Native American tribes to reclaim artifacts from museums, including human remains. However, the case highlights that families do not always agree where a loved one’s remains should be buried. When that happens, they often resort to the legal system to settle the dispute. Ultimately, it is a judge who then decides where someone should be buried.
There is a way to stop this from happening to you through an estate plan. You can make funeral plans a part of your overall estate plan and dictate how you would like your body to be treated after you pass away. It is a good idea to do so to prevent family fights.
Please contact our office today at 239-225-7911 to schedule an appointment with Barbara M. Pizzolato if you are interested in protecting your legacy and need to create or update your estate plan. You may also wish to attend one of our free seminars.
Reference: Wall Street Journal (October 23, 2014) “Court: Remains of Jim Thorpe Can Remain in Jim Thorpe“