Friday, May 27, 2011

A Response to the Article "To My Vampire, If Any"

I thank Mr. Silva for his thoughtful and articulate piece on estate planning for the undead. While I agree with much of what he said, there are portions of his remarks regarding zombies that beg comment.

Mr. Silva states that zombies are not people, and uses that as the basis for his assertion that property rights should not be afforded to zombies. His basis for the claim that zombies are not people is his personal understanding that a zombie sees former family members as dinner, not kin. According to Mr. Silva, “This is categorically different from a vampire who retains the same sense of self that person had prior to their initial demise and subsequent reanimation.”

There are two problems with his argument. First, we do not know for certain that zombies lose their person-hood upon changing. A recently published novel, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, argues the exact opposite (I'll be posting of review of this book in a couple of weeks). Second, even if a vampire retain some memories of the past, it does not follow that they have retained humanity and the morals or scruples that go with it. A vampire would kill his own mother for sport.

Please do not take this as an assertion that zombies should be afforded the same property rights as zombies. The best estate planning tools for zombies are those related to guardianship and trust planning, not undead wills. I leave it to other scholars to discuss the nuances of such matters as they apply to zombies.