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Court sets repayment schedule for United Financial Systems

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The Indiana Supreme Court has ordered United Financial Systems Corp. to follow a payment schedule for the $2.4 million it still owes former customers.

The court's Jan. 20 order follows its finding in April 2010 that the Indianapolis-based company violated state law by selling estate plans without a license to practice law. The company, which Richard and Jayne Follett started in 1982, shut down not long after the court order.

The court has already ordered restitution through Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, who set up a claims process last August, but getting the money has been an arduous process.

The Folletts "asserted frivolous, unreasonable and groundless arguments in an effort to delay issuing refunds," the most recent court order states, and orders United Financial's owners to also pay legal expenses of the Indiana State Bar Association.

The bar association brought the case, which was overseen by Commissioner Viola Taliaferro. The state supreme court, which has jurisdiction over unlawful-practice cases, confirmed Taliaferro's order on the repayment plan.

The attorney general's office initially estimated that more than 1,300 Hoosiers were eligible for more than $3 million in restitution. According to the most recent court order, there are 1,153 people eligible, and United Financial still owes $2.4 million to 1,007 of those people who submitted claims.

If the Folletts stick to the court-ordered schedule, it will take until the end of 2018 for everyone to receive full restitution. Because of the seven-year payment plan, the order calls for the Attorney General's Office to issue partial payments as money comes in. The remaining customers are owed an average $2,375. 

The Folletts had proposed paying $15,000 per month, which would have taken until mid-2017 for even half their former customers—many of whom were elderly—to be paid. 

The court's order covers only United Financial customers who bought estate plans after June 6, 2006, but other lawsuits are seeking to reach further in the company's history. At least two class-action suits could involve 4,000 or more Indiana clients who paid United Financial's fees before that date.

One of the suits, filed by Indianapolis retiree Richard Kennard, alleges that United Financial talked clients out of their existing wills, and that the estate plans they sold were ineffective.

After shutting down in Indiana, the Folletts and their sons, Richard and Beau, started other firms, including United Financial Resources in Sarasota, Fla.

Under the Jan. 20 court order, any of the 23 different business entities associated with the Folletts is liable for the repayment.

Taliaferro found each of the Folletts in contempt of court because they failed to appear for a hearing last June, but she delayed punishment in the event that they fail to make the scheduled payments.

 

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  • Not at all!
    Because Revocable Living Trusts are constructed to meet each individual's needs, it can't be certain that your trust is valid or not. I suggest that you take your trust to an Attorney in your state that specializes in ESTATE LAW and ask them to review your trust and make any suggestions they think your trust may need to amend in order to be valid. While I am not an attorney, I do know that 99+% of the Revocable Living Trusts provided through UPS services and their independent attorneys are valid and successfully avoid the probate process.
  • The Other Side of the Story
    It should also be noted that today United Planning Services enjoys an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau. You should also understand that UPG advocates the use of a Revocable Living Trust for individuals to avoid their estates having to endure the Probate process. Probating estates is a "cash cow" for attorneys and is the main reason that people want to avoid going through probate. In essence, the lawsuit discussed above was conceived by and advocated by those attorneys that were losing their "cash cow" by people avoiding those probate expenses. Their complaint went to other attorneys that regulate their industry otherwise known as the State Bar. (to which those attorneys pay fees/dues annually for membership in their association). The State Bar filed the suit in behalf of their members with other attorneys known as the State Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of their fellow attorneys. Sound like a "good 'ol boy" collusion to you? The fact is that UPS had sought the advice of three separate experts on constitutional law and were told by each their their business model was legal and did not transgress the laws of the state of Indiana. Because of this suit UPS agreed to cease doing business in Indiana of moved their offices to Florida. As a result the citizens of Indiana have lost an advocate for protecting their assets within their estates and, the attorneys of Indiana will continue to "fleece the public" with their exorbitant probate fees, costs, and expenses which are on average 3 to 8 percent of the value of each estate. The real "bad guys" here are the attorneys (no real surprise) that managed to stop a legitimate business which offed services that saved their clients tens of thousands of dollars that were doomed to wind up in the attorneys pockets. As a side note, UPS continues to flourish and is now represented in 23 (soon to be 25) states. Also please note that 99.9% of UPS's existing nearly 50,000 clients are completely satisfied with the services rendered to them. (Sad to say, you just can't please all of the people all of the time)
  • How do we get on the restition list
    My mother also bought a policy from them, and I want to make sure she gets reimbursed properly, how does she make sure she is onthe re-payment list. Her policy is with a Texas company, Will she be safe there?
  • revocable living trust
    me and my husband bought a revocable living trust from united financial in 2008!!!! are you saying that this is not worth the pap0er it is written on??????

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