Probate abuse clips from (11/24/15)

Court papers show bitter split as wife brutally attacked (MA)

Boston Herald

November 18, 2015

A Beverly man accused of strangling and nearly killing his wife Monday had filed for divorce in January after he claimed his wife withdrew $200,000 from a joint bank account and hid it from him, court documents said.

Axel Scherer, 45, has been charged with assault with intent to kill, strangulation and assault and battery on a family member after he walked into the Beverly police station, where cops said he “appeared agitated and was sweating profusely” and told an officer he had “killed his wife,” a police report stated. His wife was found barely alive.


Nonprofit accused of bilking special needs trusts (IN)

South Bend Tribune

November 18, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis nonprofit is accused in a lawsuit of taking millions of dollars in excessive fees from trusts owned by people with disabilities.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, Monroe County resident Timothy Todd claims the National Foundation for Special Needs Integrity violated its fiduciary duty by taking the money to pay unjustified legal and other fees. The lawsuit seeks class-action status and also claims the nonprofit didn’t respond to Todd’s requests for information on the expenditures.

Special needs trusts are meant to help people retain eligibility for government benefits. Todd gets disability funds because he can’t work following a job-related accident, and he has a special needs trust that includes money inherited from his mother.


Runser pleads guilty; faces possible 20-year prison sentence (OH)

Times Bulletin Media

November 19, 2015

VAN WERT — Former Van Wert attorney Charles Allan Runser has pleaded guilty to a charge of mail fraud in a plea agreement filed yesterday in the United State District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Western Division. The charge carries a maximum period of imprisonment of 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000.

In information filed with the court on Nov. 2, it was alleged that Runser advised certain clients on wills, trusts, and estates and acted as executor of estates of clients who were deceased. As guardian of the estate of one client, it was alleged he was responsible for keeping the probate court aware of the assets and expenses in the guardian account. After the client’s death, he was responsible for converting the guardianship into an estate, of which he would serve as executor.


What Happens to Your Debt When You Die?


November 19, 2015

Let’s start by acknowledging that death’s no fun to talk about. It’s easier to kick that rusty can down the road, saving those darker conversations for another day. But before you take the “financial ignorance is bliss” approach, you need to consider how your debt will affect your loved ones after you’re gone. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have any debt to pass on to your family. But whether it’s caused by circumstances or life choices, some of us will inevitably be in the red even when we’re dead. Let’s take a deeper look at what happens to your debt when you’re gone.


St. Louis Zoo agrees to buy Grant’s Farm; heir wants it, too (MO)

The Joplin Globe

November 19, 2015

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Zoo wants to buy the sprawling animal park Grant’s Farm from the heirs of August Busch Jr. for about $30 million, but one son of the beer baron is making his own offer to keep it in the family.

Grant’s Farm has drawn 25 million guests since it opened in 1954 on a farm-like setting in south St. Louis County. Zoo leaders said Wednesday the deal would triple the zoo’s acreage, add a third campus and allow for an extensive breeding site for endangered animals.