Who can you trust?

April 15, 2008 Hull & Hull LLP Elder Law, Elder Law Insurance Issues, Estate & Trust, Ethical Issues, Litigation Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

A massive $110 million lawsuit has been brought by the Attorney General’s office in California against a “living trust mill that tricked senior citizens into using their retirement savings to buy annuities that often made less financial sense for the elderly victims but earned the con artists substantial commissions and other income.”

Estate Planning Law Firms.com quotes the Attorney General as saying the following:

“The perpetrators of this fraud deceived seniors into using their hard-earned retirement nest eggs to buy unneeded annuities that actually undermined their financial security. Living trust mills such as this one violate not only the law, but the trust of their elderly victims.”

What surprised me was the apparent scope of the alleged organization being sued by the Attorney General: between 250 and 300 sales agents and another 80 telemarketers were involved, allegedly soliciting elderly consumers through mailings, seminars, telemarketing, presentations at senior centers and other means, marketing their services as a way to avoid probate and estate taxes, then eventually convincing seniors to buy annuities that were, according to the Attorney General, not in their best interest.

Without commenting on this particular case, there does seem to have been a disturbing and growing trend in recent years of attempts to deprive the elderly of the considerable wealth concentrated in their hands.  

One more reason, if any were needed, to take great care in choosing investment and estate planning advisors.

Thanks for reading.

Sean Graham

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