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Articles Tagged with staten island elder law attorney

Sumner Redstone, the 93 year old media mogul who has infamously alienated both family and friends over the past few years while determining the terms of administration for his estate, added another dramatic chapter last month when he made claims of elder abuse against two of his former girlfriends. The billionaire business man has claimed that his two former girlfriends conspired to take advantage of his wealth and now owe him over $150 million dollars, given in gifts over a period of years.

Some of the gifts to the women included designer clothing and bags, access to any of Redstone’s credit cards, vehicles and real estate located throughout the world. In addition to the gifts given while alive, both women stood to inherit nearly $23 million dollars each, before Redstone altered the terms of his will when he evicted the women from his home. There were numerous tax implications that came with the gifts given by Redstone that left him in financial trouble.

Last year, Redstone’s mental competency was called into question when one of his girlfriends, Manuela Herzer, filed a lawsuit against Redstone following her eviction from his home. The former girlfriend then petitioned a court to regain decision making power of Redstone’s estate and to regain what he originally set aside for her in his will. Herzer made allegations of financial abuse by his family members, however, her case was thrown out after testimony by Redstone was released from a deposition hearing proving that Herzer maintaining decisionmaking power would not be in his best interest.

SPECIAL NEEDS LAWS HELP PROTECT THOSE WHO PROTECT US

For those of us who come from families with many military members, we know the sacrifices and hard work that service members incur for their principles and belief that there are certain obligations in life that precede all else.  Unfortunately, until recently, for a select few of those dedicated service members faced a choice between two equally important obligations, their obligations to their country and their obligations to their family.  More specifically, service members with special needs children who received benefits publicly funded programs such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income knew that if something happened to them and their family received monies through the Military Survivor Benefits pension, their children would lose those vital benefits.  

It should be noted that the protections contemplated by the law are even allowed for if a service member retires and collects a pension for retirement but also diverts some of that money for the benefit of their special needs child.  This was a choice that was too high for some service members and helped them decide to not reenlist.  The military spends a tremendous amount of money on training and maintaining our military.  Any lost member is a lost investment to put it in economic terms.  To help combat the lose of these soldiers, sailors and airmen Congress created the Disabled Military Child Protection Act (DMPA).  The DMPA allows a service member to choose a special needs trusts as the beneficiary of any money given through a Military Survivor Benefits pension.  This allows the service member to have peace of mind knowing that if they do pay the ultimate sacrifice, their children and loved ones will not suffer further.

To be sure, tontines are illegal in America and have been since the early 1900s. There have been many articles of late, however, arguing for their return and putting the product back onto the menu of options that retirees may want to purchase. The idea of the tontine is rather simple. You get a group of people who all buy into the tontine, with their money going into the collective pool of cash. At certain intervals, you get paid money back. When people in the pool pass away, the money they invested does not go back to the investor’s family or estate. Instead it stays in the pool, allowing the payment to the remaining members to increase. The offensive part comes from the financial gain garnered by another’s death. Some people may view it as gambling on the lives of another.

REGULATORY SCHEME OUTLAWING TONTINES

In 1905 the New York based Equitable Life insurance company internal fight went public with accusations of self serving deals and political payoffs. In response New York launched a far reaching investigation that helped to shape insurance law for the next century. The Armstrong Committee started the career of future United States Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, who was a rabid opponent of gambling and helped to create the picture in the public that tontines are gambling. He further helped to draft the 400 plus pages of recommendations and reforms. At the time, New York had jurisdiction over 95 percent of the insurance industry in America. Moreover, within ten years most states enacted similar legislation. As such, the impact was national in scope. Among the reforms enacted was a prohibition on rebates by insurance companies and a ban on deferred dividend insurance.

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