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Who handles our revocable trust we setup in 2004 after a tragic death in the family? 2 parties claim to handle it.

Pleasant Hill, CA |

Rev. Trust was setup by WESI Family of Comanies/American Family Legal Centers now called the Estate Services Group/Michael Fisher. He is being sued by the other party claiming to represent our trust: United Integrity Group. They transferred our trust to Puritan Life Insurance Services. Michael Fisher claims he still handles the trust. Originally when we opened the trust for aprox $900, we were told we would have lifetime free changes annually, and reviews. We are now told there is a $150 charge for changes. Our income is reduced, and I am currently working for my spouse and seeking employment. Should we takeover handling our trust ourselves? Do we need to file any legal papers to do so? I am so overwhelmed with this mess. Thank you! Lisa

Attorney Answers 2


First, if you created a revocable living trust, you are not obligated to continue doing business with anyone. You can pick any attorney you like and have them help you with changes, if you believe that changes are necessary.

It sounds like you might have purchased an annuity or other financial product and that the two companies are claiming to own the product - i.e. they are the company you pay premiums to. If that's the case, then you are in a bit of a pickle. You might still need a lawyer to help sort things out, but you might also want to contact the state insurance commissioner, too.

I know you said that you are on a low income, but you are swimming in dangerous waters having important legal documents prepared by non-attorneys who also sell financial products for a commission. Many of these outfits are looking to use low-price trusts as a way to get your financial information and try to sell you expensive financial products that pay them high commissions.

As an analogy, it's like the difference between having your car repaired by your local dealership versus hiring a guy you meet in front of the local car parts store. There are some halfway decent (as in your house won't explode instantly) document preparers out there. But, I would venture to guess that none of the decent ones sell financial products, too. That's an instant sign that you're dealing with a scam artist.

As far as your trust goes, you should have it looked at as soon as you can afford a lawyer. If there is a financial product involved, you might want to talk to the insurance commissioner.

Good luck.

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A revocable trust is a trust that can be amended or revoked by the grantor of the trust at any time. Typically the grantor of the revocable trust also serves as the Trustee and a successor Trustee is named within the document. If you are unhappy with the service which is being provided to you, you have the option to amend the trust and name new trustees. No attorney or corporation has ownership over your trust.

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