As financial planners, our mind always wonders if the deceased had a good estate plan in place (a hazard of the job, we guess). More importantly, are their estate plans being carried out as directed. Was it Bredo Morstøl’s final wish to be packed in ice, shipped to the United States and cryogenically frozen?
In 1989, a Norwegian citizen shipped the dead body of his grandfather Bredo Morstøl to the United States. For shipping purposes, the corpse was preserved on dry ice. It was later stored in liquid nitrogen at the Trans Time cryonics facility in California for close to four years.
After being frozen for a couple of years, our aforementioned Bredo was repacked in dry ice and transported to the town of Nederland, Colorado. It seems his family members decided they’d build a cryonics facility of their own. The problem was this state-of-the-art cryonics facility was just a shack behind their house called the Tuff Shed. I really doubt this was Bredo’s estate plan.
Good planning starts at home. Just as most families discuss planning their wedding, buying a home, choosing a college, and other major life issues, they should discuss their estate plan. Death will come to each of us, no matter how long we put off discussing it.
Honoring the dead varies among cultures and religions. Somehow, being frozen solid and stuffed in a backyard shed probably isn’t a regular tradition. For Bredo’s post-mortem trip, it got stranger. Bredo’s family was evicted from their home in violation of some local ordinances (none of which were related to having a dead guy in a shed). Via the eviction, local officials learned about a “frozen grandpa” in the shed.
As one would imagine, this situation created quite a buzz in Nederland. Bredo quickly became a celebrity. Local lawmakers added new provisions to their municipal code that outlawed the keeping of “the whole or any part of the person, body or carcass of a human being or animal or other biological species that is not alive upon any property.” But the biggest twist in the legislation was that they “grandfathered” Bredo’s frozen body!
We doubt Bredo could have ever imagined this for his final, “eternal” wish. Over time, this true tale that captured international attention led to the creation of an annual festival called Frozen Dead Guy Days. It has created jobs, too, including the “Ice Man.” Each month, the Ice Man and a team of volunteers deliver 1,600 pounds of dry ice to pack around Grandpa Bredo’s body.
Nowadays, when Grandpa Bredo death is celebrated, it isn’t just a small family event. People from around the world visit his frozen shed and pay homage to Colorado’s best-known corpse. For over a quarter of a century, Bredo has been packed on ice. Bredo and the Frozen Dead Guys Days Festival have been immortalized and chronicled by two international award-winning documentaries, Grandpa’s In The Tuff Shed and Grandpa’s Still In The Tuff Shed, and a book called Colorado’s Iceman and the Story of the Frozen Dead Guy. While this has arguably turned into quite a tribute to Bredo, we doubt it’s what he had in mind for his final plans.
Our advice to you: plan ahead. No one likes to think about death. Discussing mortality is an extremely uncomfortable topic, but it is a topic that should be discussed and planned for well in advance of your death. Remember, memorial services aren’t for the deceased; they’re for the living.
If you don’t believe us, just ask Bredo.