Wednesday, June 17, 2009

PBA Elder Law Newsletter (Spring, 2009) Available

In May, 2009, the Elder Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association issued its semi-annual Newsletter, Vol. 8, No. 1 (PDF, 31 pages), containing fifteen articles or notices, to its members.

For a limited time, that issue is available publicly on the PBA's website
here, in PDF format for viewing or download.

The contents of the Spring, 2009 PBA Elder Law Section Newsletter are set forth on its first page:

  • Pennsylvania Proposes Expansion of Medical Assistance Estate Recovery (p. 1) by Katherine C. Pearson, Section Chair
  • Section Leadership List (p. 2)
  • 12th Annual Elder Law Institute Takes Place in Hbg. in July (p. 2), by Sally Schoffstall
  • Pa. Legislature May Adopt “Suitability Standard for Sale of Annuities” (p. 3), by Dana M. Breslin
  • PBA Recommendation and Report: Proposed Expansion of Medical Assistance Estate Recovery Program (p. 4), submitted by Katherine C. Pearson as Chair, Elder Law Section
  • Elder Law Numbers Quick Reference (p. 6), by Robert C. Gerhard, III
  • Medicare 101 for Attorneys (p. 7), by Kathleen M. Martin
  • Binding Arbitration Agreements: A Hidden Minefield in Powers of Attorney (p. 9), by Martin S. Kardon
  • Elder Law Section Web Site is New and Improved (p. 10), by Robert DeLong, Jr.
  • Help with Your PBA Elder Law Section Listserv (p. 12), by Traci Raho
  • The Curious Case of the Persistent Step-Up (p. 13), by John Payne
  • Advance Care Planning After Act 169 (p. 18), by Jeffrey A. Marshall
  • Elder Law Case Updates (p. 21), by Robert C. Gerhard, III
  • Legislative Report (p. 24), by Steven Loux
  • Contact the Editors (p. 31), by Robert C. Gerhard, III (Editor), and Ellen Wase & Julian Gray (Co-Editors)
This issue of the Section's Newsletter will be available only for a limited time.

Get it now. It is a blockbuster issue.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More "Truth About Probate and Living Trusts"

The Allegheny County Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office will conduct a second, free “Truth About Probate and Living Trusts” Clinic for the public, this time in the North Hills area of Allegheny County, PA (not the North Hills in Montgomery County, PA) on Monday, June 29, 2009.

I received word about the scheduled repeat of the public presentation in an email message from Scott P. Magnuson, Esq. (who is a contact person for the event, along with Christine Kornosky, Esq., Chair of the sponsoring ACBA Probate & Trust Section), as follows:

I understand that you were aware of our last clinic for the general public of Allegheny County regarding probate and living trusts.

The response to the clinic was so overwhelming that we are having our second clinic on the 29th in a different part of Allegheny County.

I thought I would pass this press release on to you in case you had any interest in seeing it.

Thank you for you efforts in your blog. I'm sure it is appreciated by many.
Indeed, I had noticed and promoted the first run of the ACBA's Clinic on this topic held March 31, 2009. See: PA EE&F Law Blog, Lawyers & a Judge Educate about Living Trust Scams (03/23/09).

Western Pennsylvania publications reported about that Clinic too.
See: "Protect yourself from dubious wills, living trust schemes" (03/19/09) by Larry Walsh, posted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and "Free clinic to focus on living trusts, probate" (03/25/09) posted by The Almanac.

Years ago, the ACBA published an informative booklet on the same topic as the Clinic, entitled "The Truth About Probate & Living Trusts in Pennsylvania," which is still available for download in electronic form (2002, PDF, 4 pages) or for order in paper form.

We have produced this booklet to alleviate the confusion about living trusts and probate, and to protect consumers from purchasing a product that might not be right for them.

The booklet answers questions about probate, such as: What is probate? What are the costs of probate? Does probate take a long time? The booklet also answers questions about a living trust, such as: Why am I now hearing so much about living trusts? Do I need a living trust?

If a consumer or organization would like to obtain multiple copies of the booklet, the first copy is free and the additional booklets are $1 each to cover copying expenses.

Recently, the focus has shifted from calm education on such topics into sterner warnings. Due to growing financial elder abuse, consumers must be trained to spot and avoid unprofessional and unqualified peddlers who frighten with tales of probate woes or tax tragedies, and then pitch unnecessary, ineffective, and often expensive "living trusts" as a panacea.

This Clinic's panel will speak the truth about these matters.

Here's the ACBA's recent Press Release about the next presentation offering the
Truth About Probate and Living Trusts:
Due to the overwhelming response to their free Truth About Probate and Living Trusts clinic held in March [2009] in the South Hills section of Pittsburgh, The Probate and Trust Law Section of the Allegheny County Bar Association along with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office today announced that another free clinic will be held June 29 in the North Hills section of the city.

The clinic, which will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., will be held at the Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North, located at 910 Sheraton Drive, Mars, PA 16046. The clinic will again be limited to 250 people, so reservations are required. Call 412-402-6651 to make a reservation.

The clinic will feature a panel discussion of members of the bar association’s probate and trust law section in addition to the Honorable Frank J. Lucchino, administrative judge in the Orphans’ Court Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, and John Abel, Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The clinic will address issues and questions about revocable living trusts and probate and will help to address misinformation that is being distributed about these subjects. The clinic will also advise attendees on how to guard against living trust scams targeting senior citizens.

According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, “It is important for consumers to understand that planning an estate and choosing investments involves many different legal, financial and personal decisions. Consumers need to gather as much information as possible about these offers and look beyond fancy credentials or high-pressure sales pitches, understanding that some of these ‘consultants’ are nothing more than sales agents looking to earn a commission on living trusts or investments that may be of questionable value,” said Corbett.

“While we all understand the importance of getting this critical information out to the general public, we were pleasantly surprised by how quickly the reservations came in for our first clinic in the South Hills,” said Christine Kornosky, chairperson of the Probate and Trust Law Section of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

“Many callers asked for a similar clinic to be held in the North Hills and other parts of the city. We are pleased to again offer this important clinic in association with the Attorney General’s office. Our attorneys see firsthand every day how important it is to get the correct information about probate and living trusts into the hands of our county residents before they make misguided decisions that could negatively affect themselves and their families.”

This clinic is sponsored by: the Allegheny County Bar Association; Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC; and PNC Bank.

Additional probate clinics are being considered for other locations in Allegheny County. If you cannot attend the clinic, important information on probate and living trusts can be found on the Allegheny County’s Bar Association
For the Public website at

Additional Contacts who will be part of the panel discussion:

  • Raymond Vogliano, Esquire, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC
  • Thomas Crowley, Esquire, PNC Wealth Management
  • Tom Loftus, Director of Marketing and Media Relations, Allegheny County Bar Association

* * *

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.
I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have.
I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right,
and part with him when he goes wrong.
-- Abraham Lincoln

Update: 06/17/09:

In response to this posting, I received an email message from Christine Kornosky, Esq., Chair of the sponsoring ACBA Probate & Trust Section. She reminded me about our prior discussion when we visualized just such an educational effort as now offered successfully by the ACBA:

Thank you for your kind publicity of our events.

You may remember our discussion (about a year ago) about how to deal with the living trust peddlers who may also be attorneys and how to address truth in advertising issues without being negative.

As you can see, we took your advice to heart when we were deciding how to handle these issues. I just hope it does some good.

Best regards,

Chris Kornosky