What happened to New York attorney John Jacobs was not exactly because of his will but it was weird post mortem enough to merit inclusion in Famous Wills.

The (paid) obituary in the New York Times looked plain enough:

"JACOBS--John H. 60, died on October 29, 2005, after a one year struggle with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife, Marion Seltzer, his sons, Sammy and Simon, and his brother, Michael. A funeral will be held at Park West Riverside, Amsterdam and 76th Street, at 10 AM on Monday, October 31, 2005. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Poly Prep Country Day School, Brooklyn, NY."

Jacobs was a well-known Manhattan criminal attorney.

It's not until you visit his grave in Paramus, New Jersey that you realize something's awry for the tombstone has, after the name of Mr. Jacobs, and "Rest In Peace", the attorney's cellphone number:

(214) 809-5673

Motorola in graveSeltzer says the number on the headstone was her idea. She told CBS:

"I call him now. If I'm happy. If I'm sad. And I think there are probably a good number of people who were very close to him who periodically call him."

That's because she buried him with his Motorola T720 cellphone fully-charged. Apparently, the loud ringing sound coming from the burial plot almost gave the grave-diggers heart attacks and for a few months anyway, scared more than a few cemetery strollers.

The phone number is now dead but for years, it reverted to voice mail which replied, with Jacob's voice:

"Hi, you've reached the voice mail of John Jacobs. After you hear the beep leave a message and I'll return the call."

On June 22, 2011, this intrepid writer called. The number reported back that it was "incorrect".

If only Marion Seltzer had of given her dead husband-attorney a 1-900 number, she could of racked in the cash from his grave, with a little help from Verizon.


  • CBS News, Deceased Lawyer Still Takes Calls, February 11, 2009 [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/12/earlyshow/main4011200.shtml]
  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Famous Wills