Safeguards to spending money
Henry Gornbein: Let’s say the recipients are all adults. Are there any safeguards there because often people will come upon a sum of money that they’ve never had, would never see other than for this tragic situation, they’re going to blow it. Are there safeguards?
Howard Linden: No. When you’re an adult under Michigan law, which is 18, which I personally feel is 3-7 years too young to be considered an adult. That may be just me. No, there are no safeguards. If you’re an adult, you’re an adult. And if you want to blow it, you’re going to blow it. And, you’re right. I have seen children in their teens, 18-19, run out, but that Corvette, go out and trash it within six months and they’re left with nothing. It’s a horrible situation, but the law doesn’t provides us to do anything else.
Henry Gornbein: Let’s say you have a scenario where people are going through a divorce and the bread winner dies and there is a wrongful death action. Have you ever had a case like that?
Howard Linden: I’ve had cases just like that. In fact, the new EPIC – the estate protection of individuals code that just came out a few years ago addresses that issue. The short version is yes, the spouse still has priority. The spouse always has priority to be the personal representative of her husband’s estate given your scenario. There can be people who would contest that if a divorce situation is pending. The statute addresses that issue regarding spouses, which was a big important issue. And the new code came out several years ago, that was one of the changes in the areas. It’s not a slam-dunk like it used to be.