Tag Archive for 'Trust Mills'

Ohio Fells Another Trust Mill

From a Columbus Bar Association press release last Wednesday:

The Columbus Bar Association announced today that the Supreme Court of Ohio, in a unanimous decision in Columbus Bar Assn. v. Am. Family Prepaid Legal Corp., Slip Opinion No. 2009-Ohio-5336, (available here as a PDF) took a momentous step to protect Ohio’s citizens from illegal trust mills that prey upon seniors and other vulnerable individuals. American Family Prepaid Legal Corporation (“American Family”) and its various allied entities and associates – after being pursued by the Columbus Bar since 2002 – were found to have practiced law without a license and to have used scare tactics, misinformation and false promises to induce thousands of individuals in Ohio and other states to purchase living trust packages and other estate planning documents at inflated prices. Often these legal documents were not needed or legally appropriate, and did not fulfill the purposes of the people who purchased them. As a result, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a permanent injunction to shut down their operations and penalized them with heavy fines, including a $6,387,990 sanction against American Family and others. 

After 2005’s Cleveland Bar Association v. Sharp Estate Services, Inc. et. al., you’d have thought people would know better than to try to prey on the elderly in Ohio…  Guess not.

Well done CBA and those involved in pursuing and winning this righteous case!

Trust Mills Happenings – A Summary by The Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog

Referencing a post of mine from a while ago, David Goldman of the Florida Estate Planning Lawyers Blog has a very complete survey of actions against trust mills from other states.

1. Texarkana Arkansas Living Trust Seminar Class Action suit
2. California Living Trust Mill Judgment
3.Texas Bar story reported by Professor Beyer of Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof BlogLiving trust Scams and Senior Consumer
4. Michael Bonasera wrote an article titledLiving Trust Scams/Trust Mills/Elderlaw Planning Seminars – STAY AWAY! where he Ohio’s history with Trust Mills and cites a case Ohio Trust Mill Case of Cleveland Bar v Sharp Estate Services, Inc. which seems to have ended Trust Mills in Ohio.
5. Minnesota Sues “Trust Mills” on Consumeraffairs.com
6. Beware of Trust Mills when Estate Planning – by Randall Armour, CA Lawyer- reported on by Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog
7. Don’t Trust the “Trust Mills”, Traci D. Ellis Esquire

Thanks David. This is a great idea whose time has come. I’ll send you any updates I find.