Bob Richardson versus probate lawyers |

Bob Richardson versus probate lawyers

Dear Editor,

You will recall I said last summer that disbarment would occur. I rattled the cage of the Probate Section of the Colorado Bar, and one just doesn’t do that and live. Ditto for the Trial Lawyers’ Section, but they’re not involved here.

Trust me, it’s not a big deal either personally or professionally. If you could comprehend the staggering hypocrisy and politics of the Bar Association, you would readily understand.

Except for this brief trust-seminar foray, I hadn’t practiced for some 15 years and wouldn’t do so now if I could. And, by the way, I can seek re-instatement after a period of years – it’s not for life – but no thanks.

To refresh your memory, I was approached by two fellows from Colorado Springs who had been doing these seminars for 6 years and because of that, in retrospect, I was less diligent than I should have been in checking out their presentation.

I proceeded to conduct 6 or 8 seminars on avoiding probate and obtaining Medicaid qualification for long-term care without having to dissipate assets. The probate portion was perfectly valid and beneficial, but unknown to me at the time, the trusts were not effective for Medicaid qualification in Colorado. I learned at a Continuing Legal Education seminar that Colorado was one of the most restrictive states in the nation – no Medicaid protection – and immediately cancelled all seminars.

Predictably, a probate lawyer (who attended a seminar with my permission) went to the Bar Association, which, also quite predictably, became unglued. I am not suggesting they should not have taken some action, but only that it was painfully apparent that I had to be permanently prevented from “going public” with anything at all relating to probate avoidance. So it was “Katy bar the door” for disbarment. Given that I was a first offender after over 32 years, it was a sight to behold. Everybody involved will vehemently deny this accusation of course, but they can be thankful that I was simultaneously dealing with serious medical problems (5 cardiac stents and the advent of post polio syndrome) since January of this year or they would have had a fight on their hands. As it was, I stipulated (agreed) to the proceedings and do not regret it.

Probate averages 30 percent of a law firm’s income, so you can see they don’t take kindly to anybody – especially a maverick like me who has been publicly taking shots at the legal profession for over 15 years – pointing out how easily, quickly and cheaply the punitive costs and delays of probate can be avoided with a simple, family revocable trust.

Probate has been a scandal (scam) on a national scale for decades now, to the extent that a couple of best-selling books have been written on how to avoid it. A lawyer named Dacey wrote one of them about 40 years ago. Probate abuses have been that bad for that long – and they continue – and in Colorado, my friends. In spades.

In any event, although 99 percent of my clients got valid probate avoidance trusts, saving their families tens of thousands of dollars, they did not get Medicaid qualification. I had a couple of problems with my colleagues (lost files) and a few folks took the Bar Association up on its offer of a refund of fees while keeping the trust. (Talk about an offer you can’t refuse!) They were reimbursed by the Client Protection Fund, and I am liable to that fund for that amount, plus costs of the “proceeding.”

That’s it. My name is not Kenneth Lay, Joe Nacchio, Bill Clinton or Dennis Kozlowski. Nor am I even in Congress! And I’m the same guy you’ve known for going on 35 years now. I’ll admit to being over-anxious to tell the lawyers’ ugly probate story and insufficient review of a program which had been ongoing for 6 years (where was the Bar Association?) – but nothing more. And hundreds of attendees now know about probate avoidance, and many now have it.

On the hypocrisy and outright theft scale, folks, the bulk of probate attorneys in Colorado are an 800-pound gorilla. I made just one mistake that happened to be both quite public and, more significantly, as it turns out, quite a shot at the famous cash cow of a very greedy association of professionals. So I am now history as they say – but only with them – and it feels just fine.

This is the first – and last – time I intend to address this issue as I expect a feeding frenzy by lawyers (especially probate ones), assorted political enemies and various and sundry liberals. And all of whom I will acknowledge in advance – here and now – never made a single mistake and are “holier than me.”

Thanks for listening.

Bob Richardson

Glenwood Springs

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