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Golddigger Spouse

The Predatory Marriage Phenomenon

Allegations that younger women sometimes marry older men for their money are nothing new. But with people living longer and the transfer of one trillion dollars from one generation to the next, it appears as if the concern about financial predators is more commonplace. In part, it’s because the Baby Boomer generation has considerable wealth, and while medical science has increased the average lifespan it has not made comparable progress in reducing the cognitive impairment associated with the aging process. More wealthy elderly people with heightened vulnerability are easier prey for the financial predator.
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Are Prenuptial Agreements Invalid Without Independent Advice?

Suppose a couple sign an agreement not to sue each other’s estate and one spouse did not get legal advice before signing the agreement. Would a judge hold that spouse to the agreement? In 2003, Justice Desotti, an Ontario Superior Court judge, said, “While I cannot conclude that there will be no agreement involving an unrepresented party that is not declared to be valid, I am certain that it will be the exception and not the rule.” Based on this decision it seems as if, as a general rule, when one of the spouses did not have a lawyer the agreement will be set aside. It’s 11 years later – let’s see how the law has evolved.
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Setting aside unconscionable prenuptial agreements

Lawrence Wilkes, a 62-year-old sophisticated businessman, proposed marriage to Mary. She was only 21 years old, developmentally handicapped and very unsophisticated. Lawrence took Mary to his lawyer where, without the benefit of independent legal advice or disclosure of Lawrence’s assets, she signed a prenuptial agreement. By so doing, Mary gave away her right to make any claims against Lawrence or his estate. When Lawrence died, Mary was left with nothing and she sued. Her lawyer said that the prenuptial agreement was “unconscionable” and should be set aside. The case was heard in Montana.
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Setting Aside Unconscionable Prenuptial Agreements

Lawrence Wilkes, a 62-year-old sophisticated businessman, proposed marriage to Mary. She was only 21 years old, developmentally handicapped and very unsophisticated. Lawrence took Mary to his lawyer where, without the benefit of independent legal advice or disclosure of Lawrence’s assets, she signed a prenuptial agreement. By so doing, Mary gave away her right to make any claims against Lawrence or his estate. When Lawrence died, Mary was left with nothing and she sued. Her lawyer said that the prenuptial agreement was “unconscionable”
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Setting Aside a Prenuptial Agreement – LeVan v. LeVan

In the LeVan case, Richard’s family’s business was worth $30,000,000. Prior to his marriage to Erika, Richard’s family insisted that they enter into a prenuptial agreement. The contract excluded Richard’s business interests and severely restricted Erika’s rights to support upon the dissolution of the marriage or upon Richard’s death. The court set aside the marriage contract and the LeVan case became the seminal case for the proposition that full and frank disclosure should be a foundation stone of every domestic contract.
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