Bob and John were together 40 years, married for 6 years. They had some prosperous times but had to watch their money for most of their lives. When they decided to have a Trust drafted for them, they contacted At Your Own Risk, Inc. (“Risk”) to have a document preparer do the work.
They paid “Risk” less than what they would have paid an attorney. Sound like a good deal? It was until it wasn’t
A few years later Bob died. John decided to sell their home and downsize. To clear title, he paid “Risk” to do an Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant. Buyer offered John a good price but then the title company discovered that Bob and John’s house was never deeded to the Trust—the property description didn’t match their home address.
John reported this error to “Risk” and was told that the company had new owners and besides, “Risk” did not have any lawyers on staff so they had no liability to John. They were merely document preparers. John should find an attorney to do a Heggstad Petition.
John was lucky (if you can call it luck) that he did not have to file a Probate which would have cost him significantly more money and time than filing for a Heggstad Petition. The Petition simply asked the court to make the correction and put the house into Bob and John’s Trust. Petition was granted and money and time saved. “Risk” got away with its negligence and kept all of Bob and John’s money without having to pay John anything.
Moral of the story: Take a “Risk” if you have to but know that if anything goes wrong, you are stuck by yourself in making it right—unless you have a good attorney.
BARBARA BARRETT, ESQ.
555 S. SUNRISE WAY, SUITE 211
PALM SPRINGS, CA 92264
760 323 2622