Kansas’s highest court suspended for six months an attorney who, among other things, charged a couple three times the going rate to qualify for public benefits based upon financial need from the Veterans Administration (VA) and Medicaid. In the Matter of Crandall (Kan., No. 117,910, Nov. 30, 2018).

A couple hired David Crandall to update their estate plan and assist with asset protection planning to cover long-term care costs. The couple had $472,479 in assets, and Mr. Crandall created two trusts, including a revocable trust that was 130 pages long, designed to make the couple immediately eligible for VA benefits and eventually eligible for Medicaid benefits. Mr. Crandall charged $31,026, which included three years of ongoing counseling.

The Board for Discipline of Attorneys held a hearing on Mr. Crandall’s representation of the couple and also on his representation of a personal representative in a probate case. The board determined that Mr. Crandall violated six rules of professional conduct, including rules regarding unreasonable fees, communication, and competence. The board recommended a six-month suspension. Mr. Crandall argued that his fee was reasonable, and that he computed the value of his services based on how much a nursing home would have cost.

The Kansas Supreme Court suspended Mr. Crandall from practicing law for six months. According to the court, the representation of the couple was straightforward and did not justify the fees Mr. Crandall charged, which were three times the going rate in the community. The court noted that the value of Mr. Crandall’s future services was questionable because the “services he does provide without charge include many of the usual and customary services most attorneys in the area offer for free after execution of similar estate plans.”

For the full text of this decision, go to: 

Download (PDF, 310KB)

For additional information concerning Medicaid and public benefits planning, visit:

NJ Medicaid and Public Benefits Planning

(This blog post was adapted from an article on the ElderLawAnswers website. Mr. Vanarelli is a founding member of ElderLawAnswers.) 

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