It can be difficult to accept the impact that aging can have on your ability to make sound decisions. After all, when you have always been fully capable on every level, these are uncharted waters. This is why a lot of people ignore the subject of incapacity planning.
In reality, this is something everyone should take very seriously. Alzheimer’s disease strikes approximately 10 percent of all seniors, and the figure is 32 percent for people who are 85 years of age and older. A person with Alzheimer-induced dementia will invariably be quite vulnerable to individuals with nefarious intentions.
Even if you have not been diagnosed with this condition per se, you may not be able to see circumstances from a purely objective standpoint at some point in time.
Florida Fraud Case
There is no way of knowing for sure, but the dynamic described above may have played itself out in a highly publicized case that came to light a few years ago.
A Florida woman whose name we will omit here married a 77-year-old man. That in itself does not raise eyebrows, but she was 26 years old when the marriage was recorded. According to an affidavit that was filed by one of his children, the family was never made aware of the union.
The woman was placed under arrest in Tampa, Florida, about four months after the couple tied the knot. She was allegedly trying to cash checks from one of her new husband’s accounts. A business did in fact cash over $650,000 worth of his checks that she presented during this brief four-month interim.
According to a 2022 Fox 13 Tampa Bay article, she wound up spending 13 months in jail before she was deported to her country of citizenship. Ultimately, she was charged with stealing a total of $1 million.
The Importance of Legal Counsel
There are several things to learn from this situation. First and foremost, when you are looking ahead toward your senior years, you should recognize the fact that you may be a different person when you reach an advanced age. It is wise to take proactive steps to implement a comprehensive incapacity plan.
Honest, direct, and open communication with family members can be part of this equation. If the gentleman in this case had discussed his marriage plans with his children, they may have been able to provide him with some clarity from an objective perspective.
In some instances, this is simply not practical based on the family dynamic, and this is understandable. However, it would be possible to make sure that you set aside assets for your loved ones and take steps to protect them from the actions of your new spouse if you decide to get remarried.
Resources that were held in a well-constructed trust could be available to you, but the spouse would have no access. We don’t know if the victim in this Florida debacle was incapacitated in any way, but as we have stated, many elders do struggle with cognitive impairment.
It is possible to anticipate this condition when you are preparing for your retirement and the twilight years that will inevitably follow. The ideal course of action will depend upon the circumstances, so you should certainly consult with an estate planning attorney before you tie the knot as a senior citizen.
Schedule a Consultation!
Our doors are open if you would like to schedule a consultation. You can call us at 818-937-2335 to arrange an appointment at our Burbank, CA estate planning office. If you would rather reach out electronically, fill out our contact form and we will get back in touch with you promptly.