Faking your death is not illegal. However, lawyer Aditi Mukherji notes that pretending to be dead inevitably leads you to commit other crimes. These include fraud, income tax evasion and implicating others in your crimes by having them file a false police report or other documents on your behalf.
After faking your death, it is almost impossible to resume life under an assumed identity without repeatedly lying to and defrauding every government and private entity with whom you interact. This includes employers, lenders, insurance companies, the courts and the Social Security Administration, according to Mukherji. Fraud and theft carry hefty civil and criminal penalties, including fines, probation, restitution and even jail time. Your loved ones may also be charged or sued in connection with any crimes you commit. In addition, if a massive search is launched to locate you, only for the authorities to discover you are not actually dead, you can be liable for those costs as well.
Considering all of these consequences, James Quiggle, director of communications for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, strongly recommends that if you are considering faking your death to escape an undesirable situation to instead consider other options, such as bankruptcy, reports Natalie Wolchover for Live Science.