The services provided by attorneys are often – if not usually – quite expensive. What are the some of the potential issues to consider when trying to save money by obtaining asset protection services from a non-attorney?
The use of non-attorneys to obtain what are, in substance, legal services is an excellent example of what has been referred to as being “pound-wise and penny-foolish.” A case from federal Tax Court illustrates how the use of supposedly “less expensive” non-attorney services can actually be many times more expensive than the cost of an attorney. The Tax Court case involved a Doctor/taxpayer and a Dallas-based non-attorney “Asset Protection Planner.”
Dr. Steven Vlach met Karl Dahlstrom at a trust planning (a.k.a. Asset Protection) seminar, where Dahlstrom was a presenter. Following the seminar, Dr. Vlach purchased various “trust packages” from Dahlstrom (a non-lawyer), whom the Tax Court describes as an “abusive trust promoter.” Dr. Vlach, however, reasonably believed the trusts would provide him with asset protection. In connection with use of the trusts purchased from Dahlstrom, the Tax Court found Dr. Vlach liable for various tax deficiencies and penalties.
Dahlstrom, who reportedly is a “convicted felon,” is now allegedly selling something called the “Texas Joint Stock Company,” through the Frisco, Texas-based business known as “Proadvocate.” “Dahlstrom now runs a new scam known as ‘ProAdvocate.org’ that illegally provides legal services, even though Dahlstrom is neither a lawyer nor has the first clue as to what he is doing. Dahlstrom . . . now sells a new scam known as the ‘Texas Joint Stock Company’. . . .”
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