You Can Now Leave Your Tattoos Behind When You Die

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Consider this a PSA for the morbidity- and body-art-inclined. Your cremation jewelry can wait and so can your will — there is a new service offering to keep you (in part) around after you've passed, and the best thing is, you can say you're not doing it for selfish reasons, but for art.

NAPSA, the National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art, will preserve your tattoo when you die, as long as you are a member and have prepared yourself properly prior to your demise. The nonprofit requires a membership activation payment of $115 and charges you an annual renewal fee of $60. To be clear, this covers the preservation of just one tattoo. Any additional tattoos you'd like to remain on this plane of existence will cost you an additional, one-time charge of $100.

Upon becoming a member, you must designate someone as your beneficiary and they will be responsible for notifying NAPSA of your passing within 18 hours. This timing is pretty crucial, so make sure your beneficiary is reliable. You certainly wouldn't want the effects of death (moisture loss, shrinkage) to reach your skin before your ink can be preserved.

Once notified, NAPSA sends your funeral home a kit complete with all the tools an embalmer will need to extract the tattooed skin. The kit also includes shipping materials to send the skin back to NAPSA for framing. Once that's finished, your loved ones will receive a new bit of art for the living room. Remember the fees you payed to the order of NAPSA in life? That was all to ensure the final product makes it to your beneficiary as planned. Once your beneficiary alerts NAPSA that they've received your framed and preserved skin, NAPSA will send through the Final Wish Fulfillment Benefit, a stipend that could be as much as $2,000.

Beyond the slight shock factor of having framed skin on the wall, this service makes perfect sense. People invest so much personal meaning into their tattoos that it's understandable that some would want to see their body art live on. And unlike turning into a tree or becoming a piece of jewelry, framing your tattoos, depending how many you have, is an equally alternative attempt at self-preservation that won't require all your remains. But do politely double-check that your beneficiary actually considers owning your preserved tattoo a benefit.

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