In the movie In Time, the only way a person can die is either from their clock going to zero, having an accident (car crash, fall from a cliff, or whatever), or from violence.

If a person has some amount of time left, what happens when they die? I mean, time is currency. If I die, everything I own gets passed to my relatives, or if I left a will, to those I state specifically. Including all my money. What happens with their time in the movie?

  • 11
    If you die in a house fire then all the cash on your person dies with you. Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 11:57
  • 2
    Very, very, very, closely related: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/68135/…
    – Möoz
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 20:38
  • @Mooz I would drop a very or three, if only because that one doesn't care about what happens to the time when they die. Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 0:35
  • @Mooz the other question has nothing to do with what happens with their time at all. Only if they are really immortal Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 11:10
  • The first person who comes across the accident transfers all the time to themselves. "Hey, since you're dying from a crushed chest, would you mind if I transfer your last fifty years to me? Hey, thanks!"
    – RichS
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 16:06

4 Answers 4


In the movie, Johnny Galecki's character Borel, gets 10 years from Will Salas and drinks himself to death. His wife said that he had 9 years left when he died:

From here:

Borel, open up. it's Will.
Where's Borel?
He's dead.
Dead? What?
You gave him a decade.
He drank himself to death
with nine years on his clock.
Jesus Christ.
Greta, I'm so sorry.

This doesn't explicitly say whether the time continued running or not, but there was no mention of some scramble to steal the remaining time (not that that was the point of this scene).

There is also the scene where Will Salas and Silvia Weis crash the car. There is this bit of dialogue:

The girl's still breathing.

She's got a decade.

It seems that there is no point of trying to take time from a dead body. (However, even if she were dead, the comment "She's got a decade." would not seem out of place.)

Perhaps it can be inferred as the remaining time is irretrievable, and thus if a person dies before their time is up, the remaining time is lost. Since small details like this were not the focus of the movie, it is unlikely that there is a movie-canon answer.

  • 9
    I faintly remember (it might be just my imagination though) another scene where they showed someone who was dead but still had time on it's hand. The timer was gray, which probably meant the time could not be retreived from him anymore
    – SztupY
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 15:17
  • @SztupY Indeed correct, but on a side note I distinctly remember the guy with Justin said "oh, what a waste" or something like that. I'm pretty sure that time on a dead person in In Time will be wasted.
    – Chantola
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 14:03
  • does that mean time is a finite resource in the movie?
    – Petersaber
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 21:55

I do not recall any instances of people dying by accident and alone, but I assume that the time simply keeps ticking, and then expires. Unless someone is around to take it from their corpse.

However, there are plenty of instances about people being killed on purpose. In fact, that is essentially the plot line. The world is pretty dangerous, because people fight and kill for time often.

Taken directly from the IMDB page:

Thieves steal time and the timekeepers control the society.

And no special equipment is needed. As seen at about 1:36 in the trailer, time can easily be transferred between people. Also, at 3:25 you can see that time is also stored in small devices that can be distributed, or in this case, stored in a bank/armored truck.

I also recall an instance of "Time Roulette", where two people try to steal time from the other.

  • 2
    If you pay attention, the direction of time flow is determined by the positioning of the arms. So it has nothing to do with the mind, that scene is more of a physical arm wrestle.
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 14:50
  • @JamesRyan Ah. That makes more sense. I couldn't find a clip, but removed my speculation based on your comment. Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 14:51

The film never mentions the idea of time being given to a child in the event of a death from violence, disease, or misadventure. One would assume, however, that the time completely disappearing or being re-allocated are the only two possibilities. Presumably someone might be able to steal the time from a corpse if it doesn't require any specialised equipment.


At some point during the film, one man gets killed, but the timer on his arms still has time on it. Seeing as the person that killed him (Fortis) didn't take the time (which his character is likely to do), you can infer that once a person dies, their remaining time dies with them.

  • Alternatively, the time can't be fetched without special equipment or some key that's only available from a central bank. It would be counter-productive to have the time simply vanish from the economy.
    – Jherico
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 20:27

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