The Goodson Law Group

Arizona Wealth Preservation and Preventive Law

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Wealth Preservation and Preventive Law Alert 17

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What Happens to Your Gold Teeth When You Die?

This Preventive Law Alert was written by: John Goodson, Colleen Manley and Christine Goodson Forakis.

Wealth Preservation and Preventive Law Special Alerts are patterned after an annual publication to all mountain climbers called "Accidents in North American Mountaineering" which writes up all mountaineering accidents describing the accident, what caused it, how it may have been prevented so that further mountain climbing catastrophes may be avoided. Wealth Preservation and Preventive Law Special Alerts are the equivalent of "Legal Accidents in North American Law" – a description of the legal catastrophe and how it may be avoided using preventive law techniques.

The Legal Catastrophe

Years ago, an old friend, and renowned mountain climber, passed away. I flew to Idaho to assist his wife after I heard that his health was rapidly declining. He died around the same time that my plane landed at the Boise airport. When I arrived, I assisted the widow with all aspects of caring for his matters, including negotiating with the crematorium where he was to be cremated. As we were in the waiting room, his widow mentioned that my friend had a mouthful of gold teeth. We asked the attendant what happens to the gold that is left after the cremation. (True gold does not fear the cremation fire) The attendant stuttered. No one had ever asked her this question before. We insisted that the gold be accounted for and returned to the widow. Soon after the cremation, the gold was collected and returned to the widow—just enough to make a remembrance ring.

The Wealth Preservation and Preventive Law Solution

Had we not thought to make this request, hundreds of dollars worth of gold would have been lost to the family. To make sure this value is not lost to your family, you must include the following in your Funeral and Burial Instructions: 1) Identify that you have gold in your teeth; 2) Authorize your representatives to have the gold removed at the funeral parlor, or instruct the crematorium to have the gold accounted for; and 3) Instruct your personal representative to give the gold to a specific donee.

Important Action Step 1

Obtain, from our firm, an enforceable Funeral and Burial Instructions instrument and include in it instructions on what to do with your gold items.

Important Action Step 2

Email or call John Goodson (602 252-5110) with the names and email addresses of (1) family members, (2) friends, (3) colleagues, (4) business associates and personnel, (5) organizations/clubs, (6) customers or clients, (7) parents in your schools, or (8) anyone else who you think cares about this topic that you want to receive our Wealth Preservation and Preventive Law Alerts. We will send the previous alerts and include your referrals on our email list to receive future alerts as they are published. You can also contact Colleen Manley at or Christine Forakis at

We help prevent legal accidents in North America!!

For additional information, please call (602) 252-5110.


The content of this report is general in nature and is meant to be used for informational purposes only. Due to possible changes in the law and interpretations of the law, in addition to the uniqueness of each individual's situation, this report should not be relied upon as an expression of legal advice. Before any action is taken by the reader, it is imperative that legal counsel or professional advisors be consulted.

Contact Information

340 East Palm Lane, Suite 300
Phoenix AZ 85004-4610

ph: 602.252.5110
f: 602.257.1883

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