Michael Kaufman, Andy Kaufman’s brother, recently left the late-comic’s fans shocked when he announced his brother may have faked his death in 1985. Not only did he claim to receive a message from his brother in 1999, but he was also joined on-stage with Andy Kaufman’s “daughter” who was born four years after Andy’s death.
Though the story appears to be quickly losing steam, we began to wonder, would it be illegal for Andy to fake his own death? In a word, no. Technically speaking, there are no laws against faking your own death; however, it would be rather difficult to do so without breaking a few laws.
There is an old saying: the only certainties in life are death and taxes. If you have convinced everyone, including the government, that you are dead, it’s hard to pay your taxes without raising a few questions. There are also your other financial obligations such as car payments and housing. Evading these duties will leave you in hot water with the authorities.
If your family is in on the hoax, they could also be charged with illegally collecting life insurance or filing a false police report. If instead you choose to create a new identity, you are defrauding the government agency issuing your new documents and any other agency where you choose to use your new identity.
Overall, pseudocide seems to cause a lot more problems than solutions. We say go with the identity you’ve got, but maybe try a new haircut if you need a change.