As Buzz Aldrin fights for his legacy, how can you control your legacy?

Buzz Aldrin is fighting for control of his famous space legacy.  His children, Janice and Andrew Aldrin, have asked a Florida Court to appoint them as their father, Buzz Aldrin’s, co-guardians. They claim Mr. Aldrin is in "cognitive decline".  Buzz Aldrin denies the allegations and has countersued his children for exploitation.

Buzz Aldrin, 88, has said that his children and former business manager are trying to take away control of his private company, Buzz Aldrin Enterprises, and his nonprofit, ShareSpace Foundation, through false accusations about alleged confusion and paranoia.

Mr. Aldrin will undergo a competency evaluation by three court-appointed specialists in accord with Florida law.  Mr. Aldrin has countersued his children for elder exploitation, unjust enrichment, and converting his property for themselves, along with conspiracy and breach of fiduciary trust involving transfers of nearly $500,000 over the last two years from his assets.

In many cases, expensive court battles like the Aldrin family battle can be avoided through the use of proper estate planning documents with protections in place for checks and balances and oversight of your assets.  Any good plan to protect yourself, your assets and your legacy begins with proper documents such as, but not limited to, trusts, health care directives for health care issues and detailed powers of attorney.

Additionally, in October 2017, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Protection Act (EAPPA) was signed into federal law. See  34 U.S.C.A. § 21711 e al.   The EAPPA allocates federal funds to address certain financial elder abuse. The new law was named after Robert Matava, a WWII veteran whose son defrauded him and left him penniless.

The EAPPA addresses financial elder abuse through various provisions. Among other things, the law encourages interstate cooperation, enhances penalties for certain crimes involving victims over age 55, installs elder justice coordinators in the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and every federal judicial district. The law also allocates resources for training to prevent elder abuse, better data collection, provides some funding to help the victims of elder abuse, and increases the penalties for financial fraud against the elderly.  The law also amends the federal criminal code to expand telemarketing fraud to include "telemarketing or email marketing" fraud and expands the definition to include measures to induce investment for financial profit, participation in a business opportunity, or commitment to a loan.

To develop a plan which begins to protect your assets and your legacy please do not hesitate to call or email Christina D. Hardman-O’Neal, Esq. at Davison Eastman Muñoz Lederman & Paone, PA.

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Christina Hardman O’Neal is a partner in the Tax and Estate Planning Department. She is experienced in estate and trust planning, administration, Probate and Chancery litigation and taxation as well as guardianships, zoning and land use, business organizations. Contact Christina Hardman O'Neal