Estate Planners Face Elder Abuse Class Action

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Santa Clara, CA: Two men who run the estate planning business Advanced Estate Planning Consultants, are named as defendants in a class action lawsuit alleging that they targeted senior citizens, providing them with "worthless" but costly advice concerning Medi-Cal benefits, and charging dearly for that advice. Further, the two defendants are not licensed to practice law in California, but sell estate planning and legal advice nevertheless, the complaint states.

The named plaintiff in the lawsuit is a senior citizen and says he spent more than $10,000 for the "worthless or near worthless" service. He claims that Richard Holody and David Sherr preyed on the fears of seniors regarding qualifying for Medi-Cal benefits. They would hold a "free entitlement-planning workshop", during which seniors who attended the course would be subject to high pressure sales tactics and a 'coursebook'' full of misrepresentations and omissions, the suit claims.

The suit reportedly states that "Defendants fraudulently told these seniors that defendants could 'pre-qualify' them for Medi-Cal benefits...In fact, it is not possible to 'pre-qualify' and individual for Medi-Cal benefits, and in most cases these seniors either already qualified without defendants' assistance or would never have qualified without spending down significant portions of their assets."

Further, the two men used bogus statistics regarding the number of seniors who find themselves in nursing homes and in need of long-term benefits, and claimed that Advanced Estate Planning could protect their assets. Holody and Sherr have reportedly been "engaging in the unauthorized practice of law," for the past four years.

The class seeks restitution and punitive damages for negligence, elder financial abuse, violations of consumer law, unfair competition, and costs.

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