Sometimes a glaring real life example can get your attention more than any advice that you can be given by a professional. This can enter into the realm of estate planning and elder law from time to time, and there has been a news story circulating recently that fits the bill.
In August of 2018, a successful business person from Tampa, Florida named Richard Rappaport got married to Lin Helena Halfon. On the surface, there is nothing to see here, but it gets more interesting when you learn that Rappaport was 77 years old at the time, and Halfon was 26 years of age.
The marriage may have raised eyebrows, but it was not newsworthy until the actions of Ms. Halfon got the attention of the media. Shortly after the marriage, she attempted to cash more than $1 million worth of checks that were drawn from her husband’s account. Amscot said no, but an Orlando business was willing to cash over $660,000 worth of checks.
Authorities were alerted, and the young bride was arrested and taken into custody in Tampa at the beginning of December. She was charged with fraud along with money laundering and exploitation of an elder.
This is a story about a blatant act of alleged fraud, so it fits into a category that is not extremely common. However, the case underscores the need for proper planning if you are getting married to a much younger woman as a man of means.
A premarital agreement can certainly be part of the equation, and if you have children, a qualified terminable interest property trust can be quite useful. With this type of trust, you would convey funds into it and name a trustee to act as the administrator after your passing.
Your new spouse would be the initial beneficiary, and your children would be the final beneficiaries. If you do in fact predecease your spouse, the executor would be able to distribute the earnings from the principle to your spouse throughout the rest of their life. The survivor would also be allowed to utilize property that is owned by the trust.
Though the surviving spouse would be taken care of appropriately, they would not be able to change the terms of the trust in any way. After the death of the initial beneficiary, your children would inherit assets that remain in the trust. This is one potential course of action, but the ideal approach will depend upon the circumstances.
According to reports, the daughter of the victim stated that family members were not aware of the marriage. Though there are people that shield their activities from their loved ones, it is wise to open up about your financial intentions when you start to reach an advanced age.
We are well aware of the fact that family dynamics can be complicated, so this is not an absolute statement by any means. This being stated, as you can see from this instructive tale, a person who is caught up in an emotional situation may be able to benefit from some objective input.
The reports say nothing about the mental state of the victim, but many people in that age group experience cognitive impairment. There are steps that you can take in advance to empower representatives to handle your financial affairs in the event of your incapacity.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Our doors are open if you would like to discuss any type of estate planning or elder law matter with a licensed attorney. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 802-879-7133 in Vermont and 518-389-6020 in Albany, New York.