With baby boomers increasingly aging into their golden years, issues of elder financial exploitation are being paid more attention. Many schemes involve caregivers who take advantage of elder dependents. One means of this that has recently come to light are marriage scams. This involves caregivers or others marrying older dependents for the sole purpose of obtaining power over their finances.
These cases can be tough to prove, but some are occasionally successful. Perhaps the most infamous of these cases was that of Marshall v. Marshall, a U.S. Supreme Court case that involved the estate of an elderly billionaire, of which his son was executor, and his much younger wife, former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith.
It was difficult not to see the fact pattern in that case and jump to the conclusion that Smith had married the 89-year-old oil tycoon for his riches. But state law gives spouses broad legal powers over one’s estate and assets after they die. Proving that they shouldn’t receive it can be difficult, though not impossible. Continue reading