Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Trust Mill" Fines of $6.4 million in Ohio

The Ohio Supreme Court fined two California-based companies multi-million dollar fines for the unauthorized practice of law. The operation apparently involved telemarketers and salespeople persuading elderly residents of purchasing a living trust in order to avoid exaggerated fees and costs at their death. Apparently, over 3,000 Ohio residents were convinced to purchase the products, which were from non-attorneys, although "approved" by an Ohio attorney, despite not speaking with the client. The Ohio Supreme Court was not thrilled with the performance of legal services by non-attorneys and handed down the hefty fines.

Living Trusts (or revocable trusts or inter vivos trusts - all the same) can be an effective estate planning tool. The determination of whether it is an appropriate plan for you should be carefully considered after consultation with an attorney (not a salesman or telemarketer) who is familiar with estate planning. After the trust is established, it is also important that it be funded, otherwise many of the key benefits are lost.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hooray! It's about time some state or jurisdiction took these people to task for unlawful practice of law. Let's see some other jurisdictions have the willingness, guts & determination to do the same.