Neil Buchanan (Florida), The Bereaved Should Not Be Preyed Upon: Can The Tax System Help? (reviewing Victoria Haneman (Creighton), Tax Incentives for Green Burial, 20 Nev. L.J. ___ (2020)):
Dealing with the death of a loved one is one of the most stressful and debilitating experiences in most people’s lives. As Victoria J. Haneman summarizes some key empirical insights:
After a major loss, such as the death of a spouse or child, a third of survivors will suffer detrimental physical or mental health issues. One-quarter of surviving spouses will suffer clinical depression or anxiety within the first year of loss. Grief is frequently accompanied by weight loss, anxiety, despair, hypnagogic hallucinations, temporarily impaired immune response, disorganization, and/or disorientation. (P. 41.)
Setting aside the emotional turmoil, how do Americans deal with the practical side of these inevitable events? Not well at all. ...
Haneman ends the article by arguing that a green tax credit “is likely to generate consumer interest and investment into the creation of more accessible financial products to facilitate prepayment” of funeral expenses (P. 42), which ties back to her description of “the importance of pre-need or pre-death planning and prepayment to protect the grieving consumer.” (P. 4.)
In short, the idea is that creating a tax credit for “green burial” will give people an additional reason to think in advance about funeral planning, which people are understandably not eager to think about. That is, no matter whether the tax credit has any environmental benefits at all, some people will hear that there is a tax boon available to those who set up a funeral plan in advance. That might not convince everyone to stop living in denial, but even if it encourages a few more people to take what amount to defensive measures against emotional exploitation, that would be a very good thing indeed.