Attorney General Files Agreements With Trust Preparer & Insurance Salesman Barring Both From Selling Living Trusts And Illegally Practicing Law In Oregon
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the filing of two settlement agreements with a Utah trust preparation company and an Oregon insurance salesman resolving allegations that they prepared and sold living trusts to Oregonians without being licensed to practice law. Named in Assurances of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) filed in Marion County Circuit Court are the NAFEP Management Co., Inc. (NAFEP) of Salt Lake City, Utah and Oregon insurance salesman Daniel R. Sirstad of Troutdale. The agreements admit no violation of law.
"Oregonians may find living trusts a helpful estate planning device but they must be appropriate for the situation and only prepared under Oregon law," Myers said. "Living trusts prepared by non-lawyers and sold by insurance salesman can be financial time bombs waiting for an end-of-life situation to set them off."
Working with a tip from the Oregon Insurance Division, Department of Justice (DOJ) Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection investigators interviewed insurance agent Sirstad in August and discovered that he had sold living trusts to a dozen Oregon and Washington consumers without being licensed by the Oregon State Bar (OSB). Sirstad had received consumers' names from his insurance agency in Pennsylvania and used business cards showing some level of expertise in estate matters when, in fact, he had but a few days training from NAFEP. Sirstad used the sale of living trusts as a segue into insurance sales. The living trusts were prepared by NAFEP without the benefit of direct supervision of a lawyer in an attorney-client relationship with the customer.
"Consumers in our state should never buy living trusts from an insurance salesperson that, no matter how competent and honest, is not a lawyer and therefore, not authorized to prepare living trusts," Myers said.
Following the conclusion to the investigation, DOJ also issued a warning letter to Senior Estate Advisors, Inc. of York, Pennsylvania. The company was told it must cease encouraging Oregon insurance agents and affiliated persons to sell living trusts in Oregon as a way to access customers for the sale of an insurance product. It was this insurance company that arranged for Sirstad to obtain limited training from NAFEP in order to be designated a so-called "Senior Estate Advisor."
Under the agreements, both NAFEP and Sirstad agreed to not prepare or sell living trusts in Oregon or practice law in Oregon without licensure from the OSB. NAFEP paid $10,000 to DOJ for a consumer refund pool and Sirstad paid another $1,000. The money has been distributed pro rata to 13 sets of consumers in Oregon and Washington.
NAFEP also paid the DOJ Consumer Protection and Education Fund $7,500 with Sirstad paying $1,000 into the same fund.
Consumers wanting more information about this case or consumer protection in general may contact the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. DOJ is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) email@example.com