“Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?” asks New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast’s aging parents, whose hesitance to discuss End of Life issues Chast captures in her upcoming graphic memoir. They are not alone: No one wants to talk about a subject that inspires either boredom (What will happen with our Social Security checks?) or terror (Who will raise the kids?) or some toxic combination of both (In what exurb will our bodies be interred to spend eternity alongside cars roaring by?)
The story of Mickey Rooney, who shuffled off this mortal coil on Sunday, is a good reminder to face down boredom and terror alike in an effort to keep one’s affairs in order. Otherwise your family members might turn into grave-robbing lunatics, claiming everything, including your corpse – especially perhaps if that is all you have to leave, as the Los Angeles Times reports:
Rooney’s trust didn’t have a dime. He owed back taxes to the IRS and the state Franchise Tax Board. He was estranged from most of his nine children and separated from his wife. He had disinherited everyone except one stepson, according to a will filed along with court papers that showed assets of just $18,000. …
After his death, his wife, Jan Chamberlin, and her son, Christopher Aber, contacted Forest Lawn and tried to move Rooney’s body against his expressed wishes, Augustine alleged in court papers filed Tuesday morning. Charlene Rooney said she and Mark received a call from Forest Lawn about the attempt a few hours after Rooney’s passing.
“Mickey was not even gone for a few hours, he had just left here on a gurney, and this ugliness started,” she said.
Rooney updated his will as recently as March 11th but missed the opportunity to include certain crucial details. Granted, he had a lot to remember. The actor had more wives than Henry VIII.