October 20th, 2010

oh noes

Legal Problems with Immortality

 The story takes place in the early naughts in Southern California.

My question is: what would happen, legally speaking, to an immortal character? It's so easy to keep track of people nowadays and she's been using this same name and information for years and years (60, to be exact- she received US citizenship when she was "thirty"), as well as being a small business owner. Wouldn't this be a problem eventually? Would anyone notice that hey, this lady appears to have been taking out loans and paying taxes for an unrealistic number of years? What would authorities think was going on, that this persona is being used for so long- is there a scam that involves this type of thing? I guess I am thinking of social security fraud or something, where a person pretends to be their dead grandma in order to keep picking up checks.

I googled things like "immortality legal problems" as well as trying to find that one vampire book I read ages ago that ACTUALLY ADDRESSES THIS VERY PROBLEM, to no avail (the character in question is not a vampire, fyi).

This does not have to be very detailed. I really just want someone- the IRS, maybe, I don't know- to start poking around, asking irritating questions about finances, and generally making life more difficult for the character.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
The Fool

hanging suicide in a barn - the how and the psychological aftermath

I have a bit of a two parter here.

This particular bit of novel takes place on normal ol' Earth, during the mid to late nineties, making the characters involved teenagers in high school. The FMC walks onto the scene of a suicide due to a misunderstanding, having intercepted a note meant for the recently deceased's girlfriend.

So, part one -  What I'm struggling to fully picture is the how.

Male character has hanged himself in a barn. The Googling of obituaries and such seems to imply most people hang themselves from the rafters when killing themselves in a barn.  How would one go about getting up there? If the barn is relatively small, would they be terribly high up off the ground? Aside from the obvious rope, is there anything handy in a barn to hang one's self with?

This all seems terribly morbid to ask, but I haven't been in that many barns... And Google images of barn interiors really aren't helping.

And part two  - The psychological ramifications on my FMC.

The story itself is something of a slipstream fantasy, but kind of rooted back to a trauma from FMC's school days. She wasn't terribly  close to the recently deceased. She's an antisocial person but before the aforementioned misunderstanding, she was led to believe this guy had feelings for her and wasn't entirely put-off by the idea.

She's twenty-five in the bulk of the story but getting confronted with reminders of this particular scene from her past on a subconscious level. I'm not wondering how this would affect her so much as I'm wondering if anyone here has dealt with something similar or knows someone who has.

I've walked in on the failed suicide attempt of a close family member and can imagine this is a touchy subject for people who have gone through it. But if anyone is willing  to share their experience via comment or private message, it would be much appreciated.

Edit:  As I forgot the obligatory "Thanks in advance!" ... Thank you very much to everyone who has responded. You've been very helpful. And thank you to anyone who responds after I save this edit. I'm sure you'll be very helpful too.
nowhere to stop anywhere on this road /

The role of young children and angry relatives in Jewish mourning practices

(Yep, it's the same damn story as last time. Whoever said "write what you don't know" should be shot.)

The situation. An elderly woman has just died. She's Jewish (Conservative) and active in her community, but most of her family is already deceased, and she's estranged and geographically distant from the rest of them, with the exception of her six-year-old grandson, who she was raising at the time of her death. Also, the living relatives (who she didn't like, and they didn't like her either) are not particularly financially solvent; while they would probably be able to get the money together to send one or two people to the funeral/etc., it's unlikely that they would or could afford to all go.

My question(s). I know a bit about the immediate Jewish mourning practices under the standard (?) situation - funeral, sitting shiva, shloshim for thirty days after the burial, etc. When a parent dies, part of shiva is their children saying Kaddish for them. Does this apply to young children? What about grandchildren, if the woman's child (grandson's mother) is already deceased? Also, if the woman was living apart from her relatives, who would take charge of the funeral/shiva/etc.? Would the (distant, very much did not like this woman) relatives be expected to show up, if traveling was a great physical and financial inconvenience? Also, now that his guardian's dead, the kid is going to be shuffled off to one of said relatives. (Which adds to the financial strain of traveling, since they'd be paying for his passage, too.) As far as shloshim goes, would he be expected to observe that? Is it even possible to observe that in this situation? Or - because this is a distinct possibility - am I getting all of this completely wrong?

(Googled various combinations of "Jewish mourning" + "children" + "exceptional circumstances", and talked to a friend of mine, who's Reform Jewish. Sadly, she didn't know, and internet searches were similarly unfruitful.)

ETA: Thank you! You all have been extremely helpful.