Fraudsters Can Be Everywhere – Even In Your Home
Financial predators are everywhere… and may even be in our homes. Jon and Terri spent over $100,000 in legal costs to undo what her mother’s boyfriend Billy had done – an attempt to scam her mom out of her life’s savings.
In 2011, Terri’s mother Jean was on her way to a dance class when she was rear ended by someone going 45 miles per hour faster than she was. The 75 year old sustained severe head injuries, partially wiping away her short term memory. Through Jean’s recovery while she was still in a helpless and confused state, Billy, her boyfriend who was never keen on meeting Jean’s family, conspired to drive a financial wedge between the two.
“Billy did what all predators do and painted a really good picture,” Jon and Terri recounted in their book A Legacy Undone ….An Extraordinary True Life Experience That Will Make You Rethink Protecting Your Family. “The police officer, who bought Billy’s story without proof, apparently guided them through the process of filing a restraining order and going to protective services. The next week, Billy hired a caretaker and flew Jean to Vegas, married her, and flew back the next day. They then applied for re¬straining orders against us. Billy hit the jackpot.”
Not only did they sign the marriage certificate on the dotted line, Jean essentially would also be signing her life savings away to Billy – or at least so Billy thought. Thankfully, Jean and her first husband had taken steps to protect their assets in a trust fund.
Every fraudster has a plan and so scheming Billy had a well thought out plan where he closed all of Jeans’ bank accounts, opened new joint accounts, cashed some bonds, and even took Jean’s name off one of the accounts entirely. But because Jean and her first husband had their assets placed in their estate through a family Trust, Terrie was able to successfully fight for a conservatorship. Although the process to protect her mom’s assets was not easy and took 4 years, Terri succeeded in making sure that Billy cannot drain her mom’s Trust or inherit it.
This scenario is not unique to Terri and Jon and can happen to anyone. According to Legalzoom.com more than 50 percent of Americans do not have a Will or estate plan. Thankfully, for Jean she had one. Otherwise this story could’ve had a devastating ending.
Terri and Jon lived through this harrowing ordeal and penned this book to save you and your elderly parents from going through a situation like it. “A Legacy Undone ….An Extraordinary True Life Experience That Will Make You Rethink Protecting Your Family,” chronicles what they went through to undo the actions the fraudster disguised as Jean’s new husband attempted to take.
These steps they say will help every person ensure their family knows their wishes and plans when one dies, or becomes mentally or physically incapacitated.
Keep all emergency information in one place. Doing so will stave off additional stress – especially during stressful moments and during decision making. Include a list of doctors, phone numbers, digital assets, bank accounts, storage rental, volunteer organizations, business associates, lawyers, financial advisors, PO Boxes, etc.
Create Wills and Trusts. Create a clear, precise, easily understood and detailed plan, then, enlist the help of an estate attorney to convert them into a legally bound document.
Designate a power of attorney. This is someone who, in case you become incapacitated, can make legal decisions on your behalf. If you have no power of attorney, the courts or a court appointed power of attorney will make legal decisions on your behalf. Provide them with as much detail as possible – safe deposit boxes, passwords to online accounts – including Facebook!
Prepare and advance medical directive. There have been numerous instances when loved ones have had to make decisions such as taking loved ones off breathing machines that often haunt them after their loved one is gone. Carefully preparing medical directives will save loved ones added stress and guilt after you’re gone.
Don’t Wait – Open the Conversation Sooner Rather than Later. Find out from your parents what they have done while they are still young and aware. Failure to put these affairs in order risks leaving it up to lawyers to distribute the assets you meant to go to your family.
Take the Lead with Your Children – Tell Them Your Plans. This opens the door to productive conversations about other important discussion in life.
Put Your Affairs in Order While You Can. Estate laws in the United States affords you this opportunity so in the event something happens the right information will be in the right place for the right people at the right time.
Create a Solid Estate Plan. That way your loved ones will have a guide to carry out your wishes and not be burdened when the time comes.
This is all About Life, not about death. It is one of the most important financial and lifestyle decisions of your life. So go ahead write the last chapter of your amazing legacy.
Be sure to get your hands on this amazing read by Jon and Terri Hull; edited by best selling author Tammy Kling, to find out how it all transpired – “A Legacy Undone ….An Extraordinary True Life Experience That Will Make You Rethink Protecting Your Family.”