What does the movie Castaway has to do with your Inheritance? Find out in today’s video.
In the movie Castaway, Chuck, played by Tom Hanks, is a FedEx executive who is flying in a company plane over the Pacific Ocean.
The plane crashes and Chuck washes up alone on a desert island. He spends four years on the island with just Wilson as his companion. Wilson is the name he gives a soccer ball.
When Chuck is finally rescued and returns to civilization, we learn that there was an exhaustive but fruitless search for him and the other passengers. In other words, everyone assumed that Chuck was dead.
It was a reasonable assumption. Yes, there is a law that allows for someone to be declared dead even if there is no body.
Every state allows for the declaration of someone’s death if he or she is either missing for a certain period of time (usually five to seven years) or has been in an incident where death was pretty much a certainty.
Being that Chuck was a successful executive at a Fortune 100 company, we can assume that he had amassed a decent amount of money and other assets, like a pension, stocks, etc.
We can also assume that at some point while Chuck was chilling on the island with Wilson, his heirs would have asked a court to declare him dead. The major effect of doing this would be for them to inherit his assets.
When Chuck came back to the USA, he basically returned from the dead. It shouldn’t have been too hard for Chuck to get a court to reverse the ruling that he was dead. He merely had to file papers with the court showing that he was indeed alive.
The issue that the film never addressed, though, is what happened to all the inheritance everyone received?
Well, in many states, the no-longer-dead person has only a certain amount of time after the court has declared death to come forward. After that, he cannot get his stuff back.
Other states require anyone who is inheriting in such cases to post a bond, which is like an insurance policy, that will pay back the funds if the person returns. Then there are the insurance and pension companies.
While they may have the right to sue and get back their money, there is no known instance of such a case succeeding.