A strange case is developing in Florida, as a man who is the target of a wrongful death lawsuit is trying to use legal maneuvers to protect assets in a trust that he set up for his children. The trust is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to reports.

The 48-year-old man has two biological children who are not yet 35 years old, the age he designated that they will have access to the trust, so he legally adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend as his daughter, which would entitle her to one third of the assets in the trust.

His civil trial and criminal trial for DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash for an accident that left a 23-year-old man dead are both scheduled to begin in March. He could face a lengthy prison term if convicted, and wants to protect the assets in the trust for his children.

The court hearing the lawsuit has ruled that the trust assets cannot be considered part of the man's assets in the event punitive damages are awarded. The family of the accident victim thinks that portion of the trust should be available for the lawsuit since the man effectively has control over that money.

The man's attorney maintains that the adoption is not illegal, and that the only reason he did it was as a safeguard to protect the trust -- which started more than 20 years ago with a $1.5 million investment and grew into the hundreds of millions of dollars -- for his children. A probate court will have to decide if the adoption is legitimate for the purposes of the trust.

No matter the man's guilt or innocence, the assets in the trust were set aside for his children, and they should not be punished for his actions.

Source: ABC News, "Polo Club Founder Adopts Girlfriend Amid Civil Suit Over DUI Death," Christina Ng, Feb. 2, 2012