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A Funeral for the Ages?

Celebrities and Explosions.

Now that I have your attention, yes today’s estate blog is actually about celebrities and explosions.

Johnny Depp, the famed actor.

Now I really have your attention.

I recently came across this article in The Guardian, which highlighted the efforts made by Depp to plan Hunter S. Thompson’s funeral after his passing in February 2005.

Thompson, well known for authoring Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas had made requests prior to his passing to Depp, a close friend, as to how he wanted his ashes to be scattered.  Depp stuck to his word and took steps to ensure that Thompson’s last wishes came true and made sure that “his pal was sent out the way he wanted to go out”.

As such, Thompson’s ashes were fired from a cannon that was placed atop a 153-foot tower shaped like a double-thumbed fist, clutching a peyote button, on Thompson’s Colorado farm.  Yes, apparently Thompson loved explosions.

The total cost of the funeral was $3 million, which apparently, was funded entirely by Depp.

The surviving spouse, Anita, Thompson, supported Depp’s decision and even went on to state that the grounds where the cannon stood, remains a meditation labyrinth that is used every day at Thompson’s Colorado farm.

In Ontario, an estate trustee has the paramount legal authority to determine the place and manner of burial.  There is no legal requirement for the estate trustee to follow the wishes expressed by the deceased (or the family of the deceased).  Where a Will includes burial instructions, such instructions are precatory and not binding on the estate trustee.

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Noah Weisberg