The reason the Stapleses could pull off a scheme that seemingly benefits everyone begins with corporate bond offerings and a little-known provision called a survivor's option. If you buy a bond and die, your heirs are allowed to cash in the bond at face value immediately rather than having to wait until it matures. The survivor's option is meant for estate planning purposes. On Wall Street some call it a death put. Issuers have used the provision to attract elderly couples -- a key debt-buying demographic.
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