642 N.E.2d 102 (Ohio Bd.Unauth.Prac. 1994), UPL-93-4, Mahoning Cty. Bar Assn. v. The Senior Serv. Group, Inc.
|Citation:||642 N.E.2d 102, 66 Ohio Misc.2d 48|
|Opinion Judge:||JOHN W. WADDY, Jr., Chairman.|
|Party Name:||MAHONING COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION v. THE SENIOR SERVICES GROUP, INC.|
|Attorney:||Louis E. Katz, Poland, for relator., Reminger & Reminger Co., L.P.A., and Lawrence A. Sutter, Cleveland, for respondent., JOHN W. WADDY, Jr., Chairman. Louis E. Katz, Poland, for relator. Reminger & Reminger Co., L.P.A., and Lawrence A. Sutter, Cleveland, for respondent.|
|Case Date:||September 23, 1994|
|Court:||Ohio Board of Commissioners on the Unauthorized Practice of Law|
Pursuant to Gov.Bar R. VII(7), a formal hearing was held in this matter on March 23, 1994 in Columbus, Ohio. Members of the Board of Commissioners on the Unauthorized Practice of Law participating in the hearing and decision were John W. Waddy, Jr., Chairman, Jack R. Baker, Craig D. Barclay, John J. Carney, Paul D. Frankel, and D. John Travis.
Appearing on behalf of relator was Louis E. Katz, Poland, Ohio, and on behalf of respondent was Lawrence A. Sutter, Reminger & Reminger Co., L.P.A., Cleveland, Ohio.
The complaint of relator Mahoning County Bar Association alleges, inter alia, that respondent The Senior Services Group, Inc. has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law by furnishing legal advice and transacting various activities, including the conducting of seminars on estate planning, trusts, probate matters, and tax considerations, together with the preparation of trusts, powers of attorney, and deeds. The complaint further alleges that the actions of The Senior Services Group, Inc., which is not an attorney or a legal professional association,
amount to the furnishing of legal advice and the unauthorized practice of law by:
"a. advising and counseling various persons with respect to the laws of Ohio governing wills, descent and distribution, estates, and probate matters;
"b. advising and counseling various persons regarding the nature, effect, and implications of the Ohio and Federal estate taxes;
"c. advising and counseling various persons that a specific type of trust would be suitable for their needs and should be established; and [66 Ohio Misc.2d 50]
"d. preparing and drafting trust and other instruments for various persons and in assisting in the execution of these documents into legal effect in furtherance of the advice and counsel rendered."
The answer of respondent admitted that The Senior Services Group, Inc. is neither an attorney at law nor a legal professional association. Respondent further admitted that it has on prior occasions conducted seminars on "various estate planning devices" but denied that the seminars and its activities constituted the furnishing of legal advice or the unauthorized practice of law. Various motions and discovery orders having been issued and ruled upon during the pendency of this matter, formal hearing before the board proceeded upon reasonable notice, with a transcript of the hearing being prepared pursuant to Gov.Bar R. VII(7).
Testimony of witnesses called by relator, and evidence presented by exhibits, revealed that respondent was incorporated for the purpose of marketing living trusts and investment products. In 1993, it disseminated and mailed a document entitled "Private Invitation" for a "free one hour lecture" and "free seminar" on the subject of revocable living trusts. This brochure identified James A. Mosteller, Jr. as a "nationally known lecturer" who would present the seminar and information on the benefits of a living trust. The brochure further described living trusts as the "fail proof way to pass along your estate to your heirs and loved ones without the courts, or probate...
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