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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

Mother, wife of missing millionaire fight for control of estate

California residents may have seen the news that a multi-millionaire went missing last week under mysterious circumstances. Now the fallout over the man's disappearance seems to be coming to a head, as his wife and mother wrestle over control of the man's numerous business interests, assets and property. The man vanished last week after embarking on his fishing boat, which later washed up on a Fort Lauderdale beach.

Authorities are still searching for information concerning the man's whereabouts, but in the meantime his wife has allegedly taken it upon herself to conduct some of her husband's business affairs. Her actions thus far include firing a company CFO and ordering paychecks withheld for one business's employees. The mother of the missing man has now fired back, claiming her son's wife has taken these actions without any lawful power of attorney or other legally granted permission.

She also claims that the man's property is in danger of being misappropriated or lost unless the court steps in and prevents the woman from meddling with his estate. Time will tell how the court rules, and if the ruling will be timely enough to establish control over the estate before serious damage is done.

While most residents of California have not accrued the amount of assets this man has--estimated to be in excess of $100 million--having a power of attorney in place for unexpected circumstances is always a good idea. Aside from avoiding the type of legal wrangling detailed above, having a power of attorney in place can ensure a trusted individual is there to make important financial decisions in the event of a person's incapacitation.

Source: ABC News, "Missing Florida Millionaire's Wife Asked For Divorce Hours Before Disappearance," Christina Ng, June 25, 2012.

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My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.

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