Follow up to Death in the Digital Age

April 2, 2014

As a follow up to Death in the Digital Age, a story about the online afterlife of a woman in Pontiac Michigan caught my attention.   Her body was discovered in her vehicle parked in her garage by an individual entering the property on behalf of the mortgage company which had foreclosed upon the property for non-payment.  The unusual thing?  It was five years after her death in 2009.

She had arranged for automatic online payment of her utilities and mortgage, and the balance in her account was large enough to last for four years.  As her body decomposed in the garage, the funds went out regularly.  It wasn’t until the account was depleted that her death was discovered.  The neighbors assumed she was traveling for business, she had quit her job so was not missed at work, or apparently anywhere else.

My favorite comment to this online story was:  “What ‘lived on’ was the money.  When that ran out, the culture pronounced her dead.”

Christina Hausner is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP in Lancaster, PA. She received her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law.