Thursday, September 11, 2008

Involuntary Redistribution of Assets

Probate instruments such as wills, trusts, guardianships and powers of attorney are being used to redistribute property in a manner contrary to the intended wishes of hard-working Americans. These are folks who mistakenly take the "bait" put forth regarding estate planning documents. Lawyers are the first to extol the need to avoid "the high cost of probate" or "government intrusion" as well as to protect one´s estate from "greedy heirs and lawyers." During this process, however, the real "switch" potential is rarely discussed. That is, members of this same industry (maybe your lawyer) turning the tables and using your estate documents to deny assets to rightful beneficiaries/heirs and instead perpetrating an Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA). Disgruntled family members excluded from the plan or else wanting more than their specified share easily connect with attorneys willing to assist. It´s an unflattering reflection on the legal industry but with this backdrop, IRA actions are quietly happening everyday.

Estate planning that includes applicable legal instruments (will, trust, powers of attorney - medical and otherwise, etc.) continues to be a critical component of any financially responsible person´s life. People must, however, become aware of estate management´s dark side. The dangers posed by unscrupulous attorneys, a pay-to-play legal system and would-be looters with an inflated sense of entitlement are increasingly visible. IRA actions are affecting Americans from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. With the large transfer of wealth coming in the next 20 or so years, these cases will likely skyrocket. People think proper estate planning will protect them – wrong! People think they don´t have enough assets to be a target – wrong!! There is no inoculation from the threat of IRA. Forewarned, however, is forearmed.

Estate of Denial will continue to "shine light on the dark side of estate management" in hopes of educating more people regarding the dangers ahead.

Probate and Switch


tvfields said...

Because most legal professionals, including most lawyers and judges, are motivated more by self-interest than justice or even fairness, our legal system is seriously compromised: On the one hand, the law is supposed to be about justice. On the other hand, it's obviously a business. Too often the business of law takes precedence over justice, and injustice results. This is a no-brainer which cries out for significant legal reform …

Anonymous said...

Well, then! The question to ask a lawyer who wants to prepare advance directives for you - at no small cost - is:

1. What will you do if someone attempts to put me into a guardianship?


2. What will you do if a corrupt judge tries to roll over those documents without testing their validity and execution in a proper due process hearing?

Anonymous said...

Self interest, cozy relationships with no oversight and profit in the legal system = corruption.

Anonymous said...

Estate of Denial spells it out in layman's terms and gives warning to everyone that we must all do advance directives, but also be aware those directives can be easily compromised and a guardianship forced instead.

We must continue to spread the word that danger awaits vulnerability. And that danger has no conscience and no stopping point.