Friday, April 18, 2008

Your Town, USA – a Great Place to Live, Launch and Loot?

By Lou Ann Anderson

A recent Central Texas newspaper article touted Georgetown, Texas, as number two on the Fortune Small Business list of “100 best places to live and launch.” This ranking identified towns having the “best mix of business advantages and lifestyle appeal.” Living and launching sound like positive activities. Launching, however, may also lead to looting – a not nearly so pleasant experience.

Looting assets of the dead and disabled is a focus of the Estate of Denial web site(

An Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) occurs when property is distributed via a trust, will and/or guardianship in a manner contrary to the intended wishes of the asset owner. It can happen during the person’s lifetime or posthumously. Family members, friends or even “trusted” associates like a lawyer, accountant, social worker or caregiver are potential IRA practitioners. With legal and financial maneuvering, IRA can be accomplished totally within limits of the law. Georgetown is home to Del Webb’s Sun City Texas. IRA actions are occurring across the country, but towns like Georgetown – with a significant retirement-age population – are particularly at risk.

A designation like the “best place to live and launch” energizes everyone from municipal governments to local Chambers of Commerce to economic development folks. This distinction provides new bragging rights when local realtors and business recruitment forces set out to promote their city. Communities celebrate as new companies open, flourish and create jobs that stimulate new housing plus needs for additional businesses or services. This increases the tax base and the opportunity to grow government (not viewed by all as a good thing). A great city creating great opportunity. It’s all just - great! Or is it?

Either forgotten or ignored is that the factors attracting positive commercial interests can also be appealing to unscrupulous businesses looking for locations housing specific, significant population segments. Towns with military installations are great examples of areas that attract economic activity that is predatory in its relationship with residents. Exploitive environments can also exist within factory or mining towns and even resort or medical communities.

The Georgetown story provides an opportunity to remind and/or educate older Americans regarding their vulnerability when it comes to predatory businesses. Whether called senior citizens, the elderly, retirees, it doesn’t matter. Nor is there an exact age for becoming a part of this group. The point is that older, often retired, relatively affluent Americans are being targeted by economic poachers of all types, especially those in legal and financial professions. Lawyers who exclusively prey on the elderly are known as “Walker Stalkers.” Wealth is relative with IRA practitioners often indiscriminate as to the financial amounts they seek. Opportunity can sometimes be as much an attraction as a high dollar pay-off.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, financial abuse is one of the most sinister forms of abuse against the elderly and adults with disabilities. It is often called the crime of the 21st century. It can be as simple as taking money from a wallet, removing valuable possessions from a home, or as complex as manipulating an adult into turning over property to an unscrupulous family member or caregiver (

U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that adults 50+ own more than 75% of the nation's financial wealth (

With the aging Baby Boomers, conditions are ripe for increasing numbers of IRA cases. Law enforcement and the courts provide minimal safeguard or justice. Local authorities often refrain from criminal prosecutions and instead defer IRA adjudications to civil courts. Court battles are the traditional “remedy” for such actions. But win or lose, massive financial expense as well as a stringent emotional toll can yield the only true “winners” in these cases to be the participating lawyers.

Many people cannot afford to take action as our courts are a pay-to-play venue. Others recognize that even with a meritorious case, many IRA actions involve a lawyer as a primary or secondary perpetrator and judges (usually former lawyers) are not known for taking substantive action against “their own kind.” With increased exposure, the need for criminal prosecutions will hopefully become self evident and communities will take action to protect their residents. Meanwhile, the current unlikeliness of criminal charges will continue as a contributing factor to increasing IRA case numbers. The prospect of a few years behind bars might one day make poaching Uncle Joe’s nest egg less appealing, but we are not there yet.

The upcoming years will see a transfer of wealth prompting many new IRA cases. People think proper estate planning will protect them or that they don’t have enough assets to be a target. There is no inoculation from the threat of IRA. Entrusting the execution of your wishes to an individual who is respectful of your wishes is key, but thwarting of this effort occurs as IRA practitioners are often shameless masters of deception. Exposing this problem – shining light on the dark side of estate management – can be a simple yet effective solution. Forewarned is forearmed so the next important step is to spread the word. Money, disability and death are topics regularly avoided. That has to change. Be aware of what’s happening in your community.

Let Walker Stalkers and other IRA practitioners know that property rights are expected to be respected and that your town, like Georgetown, can be a great place to live and launch, but looting will not be allowed!

Lou Ann Anderson is producer of The Lynn Woolley Show, a Texas-based talk radio program. She also is an advocate working to create awareness regarding the Texas probate system and its surrounding culture.

Lou Ann may be contacted at:


Anonymous said...

Great Article!

Anonymous said...

The politicians who do the most damage to Americans are rarely found in Washington but more likely found at the state level. My own state of Florida is chock full of political corruption and much of that corruption is within the bounds of the legal system. Though this is likely prevelent throughout America certain states shine brightly with judicial corruption.

Take Texas for example. Texas the land of drive through executions has developed a nice little pattern of corruption. Wacco is a perfect example from the past, The Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints is a perfect example of the present. Before I continue I should mention that I see nothing wrong with polygamy as long as it is among consenting adults.

Federal authorities hoped for fame and fortune when they origionally confronted the community at Wacco these many years ago. Instead, regardless of their rhetoric, they became responsible for the deaths of innocent men, women, and children. They wanted to showboat and others paid the cost for it.

History repeats itself once more. Where is the 16 year old girl who claimed she was being abused by these people? How much do you wanna bet that she doesn't exist. That is right I bet there was never a 16 year old girl. A few days ago there was a second report of a second 16 year old girl who reported a similar situation and girl.

While someone trys to pump up their carreer, families are being separated, mothers separated from children, with no evidence that the mothers abused or hurt these children in any way.

"Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, said the move was a typical procedure taken by the agency.
"It is not the normal practice to allow parents to accompany the child when an abuse allegation is made," Gonzales said."

Say what? What ever happened to "innocent until PROVEN guilty?" The mother were given two choices, go home without your children, or go to a shelter and maybe we'll let you be with your children. Talk about blackmail. Here's a though, how about letting them all remain at the only home that any of them have ever know and not separating the mothers from the children, but parking a couple of FEMA trailers on the sight with live aboard counselors and superviosors to ensure that the children were safe and well cared for until everything could be ironed out? I supposed that isn't jack booted Nazi enough for the Justice Department in Wackjob, Texas.

The church has repeatedly fought because of its lifestyle before. Men, women and children have been swept up in raids that took place in 1935, 1944 and 1953.

"It's been all through history, " said Brenda, the mother of two. "We were just here trying to live a peaceful, happy, sweet life. We don't understand why we can't do this freely."

This is just another example why you should never trust law enforcement and the legal system. These people are not your friends. They will destroy your life at the drop of a hat to further their carreers and are no better than the criminals they lock up.

The best advice I could ever give a sane person in America is that when it comes to law enforcement stay as far away from the system as you can, deal with your own problems yourself, never co-operate with authorities and exercise your right to be silent.

Anything you say will be taken out of context and used against you and the ones you love in a court of law.