If there is one thing we gents are good at, it’s doing something half-assed. However, there are three areas in life that require us to be spot-on: hooking up a DVD player, knowing what time the game comes on, and faking our own death.

Let’s focus on the latter for now. Perhaps you need to avoid getting your girlfriend something for her birthday, maybe you need to get out of unpaid parking tickets, or perhaps you just always wanted to move to Tampa and go by the name “Sven.” Whatever your reason is for faking your own death, we’re sure it is a perfectly sane one. It’s a tricky business to navigate, this business of death faking, so follow this guide to pull of your disappearing act to perfection. The alternative is getting caught and looking like an idiot. No one wants that.


Faking your death takes planning and time. Set a date for when you will be making your exit and work towards that goal. It should be a few months from now to give yourself some time to workshop this bitch. You will need to know how you will go, where you will go into hiding after that, and a supply of clothes, food, and cash. These things are simple, but can be overlooking in the death faker’s eagerness to pull the proverbial trigger. Attention to details will make your death a smooth one for all involved.

Reap the Benefits

Most fakers blow their death load a little too early and forget the rewards that can be gained from dying. If you are just wanting to get out of town and begin a new life free of your a-hole boss and nagging wife, fine. But don’t forget the life insurance money you could get for pretend dying. A minimum life insurance policy can run about $12 per month for the average male and pay out as much as $100,000. That should be enough scratch to buy a double wide in Alabama and still fund a trip to the casinos in neighboring vacation paradise, Mississippi. Make sure to purchase the policy at least six months before your death to make it seem like you attempted to think about the future of your benefactor – which will be an accomplice (keep reading).

Have an Accomplice

This is not completely necessary if you just want to disappear into the night or pull a fake ‘lost at sea’ situation. But if you want to get the insurance money, or go out in style, you’ll need a hand. We suggest not getting a close friend to do this because you are disappearing forever, so look outside your circle of losers for your helper. Homeless people need money, so they would probably assist for a free pack of Certs. The best help, though, is someone far away from where you currently are that will take a cut of your insurance loot. All they have to do is accept being the benefactor of your life insurance, keep their percentage and mail the rest to you. And of course, keep their mouth shut and memorize the intricate back story of how they saved you from a snake bite at summer camp when you were nine, thus you are forever grateful. If you use an accomplice to assist in the mode of death, make sure you are well rehearsed in the mechanics/theatrics. You only get one shot at fake death glory.

Decide How You’ll Go

It’s best to pick a death that does not have to produce a body as proof — you know, so you don’t have to worry about holding your breath and having your skull cut open during an autopsy. Something like a fake kidnapping, which can be followed up with the authorities finding a torn shirt with some of your blood on it (sorry, you’ll need to prick a finger for this), could be your best shot. A simple disappearance is okay, but it’s best to leave little doubt that you have met your demise. Getting fake ‘swept away’ in the rapids of a river, or falling overboard while at sea are also strong choices. After a week of looking, the rescuers usually get bored and realize they are missing the new season of “The Office,” so they pronounce you dead and go home. For a more impressive exit, you can fake a car or truck explosion — preferably one carrying a chemical that leaves no remains. Or pull a D. B. Cooper and jump off a commercial jet mid-flight with a parachute.  This will leave little doubt that you bought the farm in a blaze of glory.

Cover Your Tracks

Most non-crazy people that fake their deaths forget one loose end, like leaving their ring in the bottom of the toilet for Patrick Bergin to find after the fake death and then he comes after you and rearranges your kitchen cabinets (see Sleeping with the Enemy).  Make sure to dispose of any brochures for Cancun or MapQuest printouts pointed the way to a suburb of Seattle. Anything like this could lead to suspicion that maybe you aren’t dead after all and bring on some unwanted investigation.

Choose a New Identity

This is the fun part. You have to pick a new look, new history, new career, and most importantly, a new name. Obviously, if you are so pale you are borderline transparent, saying your name is Renzo Escobar de la Jolla is probably not the smartest move. Random name generators are helpful to come up with ideas. Your name can also motivate your back story. For example, if your new name is Silas O’Swain, you can create an exotic history for yourself about when you went undercover with the I.R.A. For your new look, mustaches or goatees seem to be the norm in disguises and changing your hair color is also in order. And no, blue hair should not be part of your new identity. The idea is to blend in with your new surroundings as you shed all traces of your former self.

Get Fake Credentials

The best place to get fake papers is the local high school. You’ll need the local illegal whiz kid to get you a driver’s license, social security number, birth certificate, and Blockbuster Rewards card for the price of a case of beer. Of course, you will want to get into the ‘system’, so have the kid you hire get you in through his contact – probably his brother or cousin at the DMV — or assume the identity of some dude who died in the 50’s. It worked on “Law & Order”. For a DIY version, The ID Shop is good.

Alternative Option

Depending on how heartless you are, you could go to your own funeral. Disguised, of course. Better yet, try and give your condolences to your friends and family. This will be the ultimate test of your death fakery. Wear shades and a black suit. They’ll detract from your new fake mustache. This move could backfire if people only show up to celebrate your passing, but that’s probably why you faked this thing in the first place, right?