In most probate situations it is certain that the individual whose estate is being distributed is, in fact, deceased. However, this is not true in the case of Guma Aguiar who has been missing for about two weeks now. Aguiar was last seen by surveillance cameras on a South Florida port. He was alone on his boat, steering into rough ocean waters. One week later his boat drifted onto shore, but without Aguiar on board.
Nearly ten years ago, Aguiar knew nothing of the oil and gas business but decided to join his uncle in starting a company in the industry. He was in his mid-20s when the company struck oil. Years later, the pair sold the company for $2.5 billion, of which Aguiar received over $200 million. However, since the sale, Aguiar and his uncle have been in legal battles over the funds, battles which seemed to take a large toll on Aguiar mentally. Friends and family state that Aguiar was very troubled during the last months before his disappearance and that the lawsuit was a major stress in his life. He also struggled with bipolar disorder, for which he had recently sought treatment.
Aguiar married his wife, Jamie, in 2006 before he made his fortune. Friends say that she was a loving spouse who tried hard to create a peaceful home for them and their four children who range in age from 10 months to 7 years old.
While legally the estate should pass to his wife (unless otherwise stated in a prenup or trust documents, neither of which have been shown to exist yet) Aguiar’s mother has been fighting for ownership of the estate. His mother claims that an hour before Aguiar got onto the boat and was lost, his wife told him that she wanted a divorce. The mother claims that this pushed her son over the edge and caused his death and that, therefore, the wife should not receive the estate.
There are several flaws with this argument. First, whether the the wife said she wanted a divorce and if that is actually what “pushed him over the edge” can be difficult to prove and subjective. Even so, no legal documents were filed and verbal statements are rarely enough cause to make such a drastic decision as to remove the estate from his wife and children to give it to his mother. Also, there is no legal separation or legal divorce and, in the heat of the moment, people often say things that they do not mean, such as threatening a divorce.
The other difficulty in this situation is that there is no body to prove that Aguiar is actually deceased. If he was lost at sea then the odds are strong that his body may never be found. However, this will dramatically slow the process of probate and the administration of the estate.
In situations such as this we see clearly why it is so important to create an estate plan. Aguiar was only 35 years old, proving that we are never too young to get our affairs in order. We do not know the time nor the place when we will pass away, therefore, for the sake of our loved ones, we need to prepare now. If Aguiar had a Living Trust in place, there would be no question as to the distribution of his estate and a long and expensive probate battle would be avoided. Do not hesitate to create your estate plan! Call 888.222.1328 today to schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified estate planning attorneys.
Morris Hall Can Protect You in Today’s Litigious Society:
We live in a litigious society, where over 1 million lawsuits are filed every year in America alone. Financial predators are looking for ways to take funds from others and often use litigation as their means to do so. At Morris Hall we provide your assets and your loved ones with important protections that can prevent financial predators from taking advantage of you. We do this through proper and current estate planning techniques. With an MH living trust, we can also protect your property, assets and loved ones from probate, estate taxes, gift taxes, creditors, Medicaid spend-down, conservatorship or guardianship proceedings, ex-spouses and more. A living trust also keeps your asset and beneficiary information private and secure to avoid giving financial predators information to use against you and your family. Without a living trust, this information will be made public. For those living in Arizona, we serve the areas of Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tucson, Sonoita, Arrowhead, Avondale, Goodyear and Tempe. In New Mexico we serve the areas of Albuquerque, Santa Fe ,Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, White Rock, Alamogordo, Truth or Consequences and more. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment with an attorney in your area!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.