Retirement planning? Arranging your affairs before death? Getting your estate in order? Thinking about making a will? Preparing a will? Interested in protecting principal or preserving capital? If so, you might want to know that there’s another kind of principal protection and capital preservation. And I wrote a series of articles on just that!
Cherchez-vous un avocat? Seeking an attorney? If a small business owner, I understand what it took to start an enterprise and make it successful. I also know that a generational transfer is difficult to navigate especially taking into account the tensions arising from the family dynamic. Seeking one of the family law lawyers or family lawyers Montreal, dealing with the elderly? My law firm is located in Montreal and I believe that it’s the one for you or your family. I practice in the civil law area – one of my specialties is civil-elder law. And I have represented the senior or a family member. Indeed, I wrote the book (Please visit www.practitionerspress.com) – two in fact, notably
Elder Law in Canada**ELIC**” Estate Document Professor** EDP**
Vol. 11, #16.4 – Jan. 6 2020–ALLAN GOLD’S BLOG
Ever thought about your money, going …going… gone, once you’ve passed?
If not, maybe you should! (Part #4)
As you know, my current subject is money. More precisely, it’s on “capital preservation.” This is defined as “a strategy for protecting the money you have available to invest by choosing insured accounts or fixed-income investments that promise return of principal.” (Source: https://financial-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Capital+preservation). However, I’m using this notion differently – not from the perspective of the investor, but rather, from that of the will-maker (known as a Testator, if male or Testatrix, if female); and this, with a view, following decease, to preserving some or all of the principal arising from his/her estate. (Of course, such raises the primordial question as to whether or not one should now try to do that. But I shall let each of my readers to answer that very good question for himself (or herself.))
Since I introduced my topic in the first blog of the series and I’ve already given you my thesis and I’m well down the road in my argument, I’ll now add a few more examples, provide some percentages and statistics for good measure and make a deduction therefrom.
- THESIS & ARGUMENT.
B.3 Pleading By Citing instances of Lottery Winners, Who Weren’t So Lucky After All!
Unfortunately, there are more members of this club of unfortunates. The next two illustrate that money sometimes gets in the way, creating or compounding the problem.
B.3.5 Jack Whittaker. On Christmas Day in 2002, Jack Whittaker, a resident of Hurricane, West Virginia, won the U.S. Powerball jackpot of $315 million. This case is particularly troubling since he was already a millionaire – his pre-existing net worth amounted to roughly $17 million. So the new money shouldn’t have been a shock to his system. And when he took a lump-sum payout of $170.5 million, he should have known how to handle it. Planning to donate a large portion of his winnings, he was quoted as saying, “I’m getting really excited because of the good works I can do with this.” And he followed through, donating a good percentage of his earnings to charities, foundations, etc. For me, he should have benefitted from all of that positive energy, which he was emitting into the universe. However, it appears that he didn’t get a life entirely of ‘milk & honey.’ Instead, misfortune found him and he had to suffer greatly through bad times. As for example, lawsuits were filed against his company. A casino sued him personally for allegedly bouncing $1.5 million in checks. A woman even came forward and claimed that Jack had groped her at a racetrack. Indeed, there was a time when he was contending with more than 400 legal cases. To make matters worse, he was robbed on more than one occasion and he lost thousands. But it got even worse. Whittaker started drinking heavily. You see – he had been giving money to his granddaughter and she used the money for drugs. Ultimately, she became hooked and died of an overdose. If that wasn’t enough, he had even more pain after the mysterious death of her mother – Jack’s daughter. In 2007, he was quoted as saying, “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.”
Some people might criticize him as something of a “Mr. Money Bags,” who was negligent. As for me, I believe that he’s just a human being, trying to keep his life equilibrium, do some good, but with a target on his back. Perhaps, he made some mistakes, but there were people, who were looking for an opening to pounce and on finding it, they tried to get a piece of him. All of this was magnified by his wealth. And to add to his woes, he had to handle great personal tragedy.
B.3.6 Daniel Carley And here’s a Canadian story. In February 2006, Carley, then 24, living in St. Catharines, Ontario was a low level seller of cannabis, when he won $5-million in the Ontario Lottery. But there was a big controversy over the purchase of the winning ticket. You see, there was a lifelong friend who said that the ticket was in effect joint because this friend gave him $10 towards the purchase of 12 tickets (at $10 each), which they scratched while seated in a car with another guy. This led to a law suit lasting three-and-a-half-years, which Carley ultimately won but after which, the friendship had been destroyed. By the age of 35 and now broke, he lost another legal case. This time, he was convicted of trafficking in crack cocaine and was sent to jail for two and a half years. At the time of the sentencing hearing, defence lawyer Ron Charlebois expressed the opinion that winning the lottery was the worst thing that could have happened to his client because he got into drugs, including cocaine and heroin, and he became an addict. Charlebois asserted, “He has lost everything primarily from people taking advantage of him. He sold drugs to support his habit.”
Some might say that he was a person on a ‘downward spiral,’ who did ‘slip ‘n slide’ through life, and this did inevitably lead to his ultimate ruin. As for me, I would explain it by saying that while he had a substance abuse problem, it was exacerbated by the fact that he unexpectedly had more money in his jeans. You see, he was down a rabbit hole unable to help himself, but for a time, was also one of those people, who had “more money than they know what to do with,” and then he just lost himself!
B.4 Percentages and Statistics
On the issue of lottery winners going bankrupt, here are a few numbers:
- “The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) denies that 70 percent of lottery winners end up bankrupt within five years after receiving a large financial windfall. … Lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within three-to-five years than the average American (CFPBS).Dec 3, 2018 (Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=do+lottery+winners+end+up+good+or+bad&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1)
- “Studies show that lottery winners are more likely to declare bankruptcy within three to five years than the average American. In fact, nearly one-third of lottery winners declare bankruptcy, and it doesn’t end there. It’s usually followed by depression, drug and alcohol abuse and estrangement from family and friends. Apr 17, 2018”(Source: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1&sxsrf=ACYBGNTgkSRP25UYSu8CYyo7NO2ZGrIWbg%3A1572807135498&ei=3yG_Xd6PHoPm_QaRoY7YCA&q=Lottery+winners+are+more+likely+to+declare+bankruptcy+within+three-to-five+years+than+the+average+American+%28CFPBS%29.&oq=Lottery+winners+are+more+likely+to+declare+bankruptcy+within+three-to-five+years+than+the+average+American+%28CFPBS%29.&gs_l=psy-ab.12..0i71l8.63992.63992..65618…0.2..0.0.0…….1….2j1..gws-wiz.U7qJyNTQVjk&ved=0ahUKEwie-_GU287lAhUDc98KHZGQA4sQ4dUDCAo)
At this junction, you might ask, “What’s the point?” Are you suggesting that money is not good for you? Or watch out for what you wish – you might turn into a “Rich Bitch” or a “Poor Little Rich Kid.” To that, I would reply, “No, but it does happen that from something good comes something bad. In addition, I assert that money doesn’t buy you happiness. But more, I remind you of my questions at the beginning, which bear repeating: “Retirement planning? Arranging your affairs before death? Getting your estate in order? Thinking about making a will? Preparing a will? Interested in protecting principal or preserving capital?” If so, you’re typically a parent, who is preparing an estate worth thousands and thousands of dollars. Indeed, you don’t want to make a mess out of it. And as the Testator or Testatrix, now about to make a will or make a new one, you’re in the hot seat, trying to safeguard the money and also do right for your family. Of course, when making a will, there’s no room for error as there’s no do-over.
In the last two article/blogs of this series, I anecdotally dealt with a number of tragic stories of people who won, but in the end, lost out in things that really mattered. So, what’s the take-a-way? The starting point is that you need to teach the children well about money. However, if you now have doubts about your adult children, then teach them some more. Should there be a sizeable estate and you’re still worried, you have a dilemma. You need to determine whether you’re concerned about heirs not being happy about getting the money in installments or if you’re more afraid of the money disappearing into thin air. Once you figure that out and should you be less concerned about holding back money and hurting feelings, you might then seriously consider structuring your will to preserve the capital and protect your future heirs from themselves. While your future heirs might not like it much and yell and scream on the reading of the will, you’ll be able to rest in peace. And the chances are that eventually, one day, these very same heirs might grudgingly admit to themselves and (hoping that you are listening), say out loud, “I understand …it was the right decision for you to have made.”
This said, but how? Now that’s a very good question!
P.S. Sorry if this pales when it comes to cliff hangers. Of course, it’s not even close to the one of “Who killed JR?” fame, but I thought it would bring a smile to your face. *
D. PREVIEW OF NEXT IN THE ELDER LAW BLOG SERIES.
I believe that with this blog series, I may have started you along the way to being more aware of elder law. I will continue on with the subject of retirement planning and more particularly, principal protection and/or capital preservation after you’ve passed on. Next, comes the big “reveal.” Interested? Want to get more information about the current topic, retirement planning, or other areas of elder law written by an “avocat,” one of the family law lawyers, family lawyers Montreal, practicing in the elder law field? See you next time. It won’t take too much time. Remember my byline – it’s “Gold’s Legal Minute*GLM*!” And please don’t forget to join my professional community by entering your e-mail at the prompt. *
E. NOTICE – CAUTION –DISCLAIMER.
The material provided herein is of a general nature, strictly for informational purposes. The interpretation and analysis is not to be misapplied to a personal situation with a particular set of facts. Under no circumstances, are the herein suggestions and tips, intended to bring a reader to the point of acting or not acting, but instead, the hope is that they are to be a cause for pause and reflection. It is specifically declared that this content is not to be a replacement of, or a substitution for, legal or any other appropriate advice. To the contrary, for more information on these presents, related subjects or any other questions, it is the express recommendation of the author that everyone seek out and consult a qualified professional or competent adviser.
* ©/TM 2019, 2015-2018, Allan Gold, Practitioners’ Press Inc. – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
** ©/TM 2006, 2008, 2018 Allan Gold, Practitioners’ Press Inc. – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED