What if your parents worked hard and saved most of their money? What if they wanted to ensure their assets would be passed on to you and your children so they created a trust and left you as the successor should they become unable to handle their affairs and/or eventually pass?
What if twenty years later, in their fragility of years, they became ill, but to ensure diagnosis, you sought out second opinions – of which, came back declaring your parents incompetent to oversee their own affairs? That’s a sad and heavy place to come to as adult children of aging parents.
How would you feel if in a moment of paranoia likely brought on from Alzheimer’s disease, your aged and ill father accused you of stealing his money and without any evidence or documentation to support it, the court stepped in, kicked you off the trust, and began appointing strangers to oversee your incompetent parents million dollar estate?
And, in spite of all your meticulous record keeping, they create reasons to hire and pay officials, friends, attorneys – all with your parents money. Now imagine if you are one of these goons that has the pleasure of making money off an incompetent’s estate without question or resistance. Sounds like a pretty good racket, doesn’t it?
Meet the Setinseks of Trumbull County, Ohio. Two warm, kind-hearted people who thought that just doing things right and doing the right things would be enough to get by in life. However, Rudolph (Joe) and Dorothy Setinsek have been fighting an uphill battle that has played out like a living nightmare for the last four years. Fortunately, they are now being represented by Attorney David Engler who is well-known for his fierce advocacy of civil rights and staunch position against government abuse and overreach.
Meet Jeff Hovanic, Champion Township Trustee, court bailiff, and spouse of one of Judge Swift’s employees. Swift appointed Hovanic as the Trustee over the Setinsek’s estate in spite of the family’s wishes. He said he was appointed because he is “trusted.” Judge Swift vouched for Hovanic and said that Hovanic oversees Champion Townships $3 million budget. That qualifies him. I wonder if any of the counties other 21 township trustees have been appointed to handle hefty elderly estates. Hovanic can bill the Setinsek’s trust and uses the trust money to “take care” of the Setinsek’s trust assets.
Meet Attorney Douglas Neuman. He’s the attorney appointed by Judge Swift to “represent” the incompetent couple. He gets paid by the trust, too. Should he really be representing the interests of the incompetents when he’s already ignored their wishes stated in the trust document they created 20 years ago? Think about this, the longer Attorney Neuman drags this out, the more money he makes. No?
Meet Mark Finamore. He’s Jeff Hovanic’s attorney. He is also the attorney for the county’s other township trustees. Finamore is being paid by the Setinsek’s trust, too.
Meet Josh Garris. He’s the agency attorney for Trumbull’s Guardian and Protective Services (GAPS). He admittedly erred in billing the Setinsek’s trust $12,877 for just 1.5 hours of work. When asked if he’d repay the money, he indicated he would if the court said he had to. So much for “guarding and protecting” aye? Why should it take a court order to repay a $12,000+ billing error?
Twenty years ago, these parents were highly competent and trusted their only son to oversee their affairs at some point in the future – when they suspected they may not be able to care for themselves. Why should that change when they become ill with dementia/Alzheimer’s? Is this court and it’s appointed men exploiting this situation and using the trust money for their own personal gain?
I know many of you have elderly parents. Many of you have had similar illnesses and circumstances with your aging loved ones.
Now, imagine this happening to you and your parents. Be informed. Be aware. BEWARE. Other than more investigative media coverage and informed voting decisions, I don’t know what the answers are. I’m putting this out there for discussion.
I can’t help but consider a slightly different situation. I wonder, if this elderly couple were poor, would this court still have the same interest in their affairs? Or, is it because this couple amassed more than $1 million in assets that the court developed a fascination with overseeing and paying hand selected high-priced attorneys out of the trust assets? I wonder.
- The Advantages of Living Trusts: 6 Ways a Living Trust can Benefit Your Estate Plan (eldercenter.wordpress.com)
- Estate Planning Basics (quicken.intuit.com)
- A Scathing Tongue Lashing & Judgement to a Trustee of a… (prweb.com)
- Probate Nightmare on High Street: Swift’s Severe Actions (trumbullcountynews.wordpress.com)