The Estate and Trusts Group, Lawyers Division Bnai Brith and the adult education committee of Shaarei Shomayim are sponsoring a continuing legal education seminar entitled “Financial Predators and the Elderly – Banton v Banton.”
In this case the 88 year old George Banton fell in love with a 32 year old waitress named Muna. He married Muna and made a new will that disinherited his children. Virtually all contact with his kids stopped. At the time Mr. Banton was depressed, terminally ill, and mentally unwell. On hearing that their father was certified as incapable and that Muna, had withdrawn $10,000 from his account, George’s sons used their power of attorney to transfer George’s money into an irrevocable inter vivos trust under which they and CIBC Trust Corporation would be the trustees. The trust allowed the money to be used for George’s during his life and would go to his children after his death.
When George died his children challenged the new Will and the validity of the marriage to the much younger Muna. She challenged the sons’ creation of the trust. The fact situation in Banton v Banton underscores the risk to the elderly of being victimized by financial predators who look to marry a vulnerable older person as a means to take away their money and disinherit their children. To quote the judge in the Banton case, “I have no doubt at all that this influence was deliberately exerted to enable her to obtain control and, ultimately, the ownership of his assets…. After she consented to marry him, her influence became overwhelming and irresistible. The speed with which she was able to procure a will and a power of attorney in her favour is testimony to this as well as to his weak and vulnerable mental condition. …Thereafter, he was held incommunicado as far as his family were concerned…. I believe George Banton was a mere puppet, when he was not simply a bystander, during the guardianship proceedings.”
These continuing B’nai Brith legal education seminars have been going on for approximately four years. Many members of B’nai Brith are professionals whose practice involves servicing senior citizens and their families. B’nai Brith runs these seminars in order to meet present and future educational needs of our membership’s legal and accounting profession. These seminars were inspired, in part, by legal problems of concern to the Jewish community as well as the community at large.
To educate attendees these seminars feature some of Ontario’s premiere estate litigators. These lawyers will be participating in mock court proceedings based on the fact scenario of Banton v Banton. Prior to the moot court Rachel Blumenfeld, an estate lawyer at Miller Thomson (bit.ly/rblumenfeld), will explain the legal options open to children wanting to protect elderly parents in second marriage situations. Thereafter Rabbi Joe Kanofsky of Shaarei Torah will speak from an ethical pastoral perspective about the obligations and choices to the children, parent and professionals when dealing with this type of scenario. The Rabbi’s presentation can be used by lawyers towards fulfilling part of their mandatory 3 hours of continuing professional development related to professional responsibility, ethics and practice management.
The judge for the moot appeal will be Jordan Atin (http://bit.ly/jordanatin). Archie Rabinowitz (http://bit.ly/arabinowitz) and Kimberly Whaley (http://bit.ly/kwhaley) will be representing the Banton children and Ian Hull (http://bit.ly/ianhull) and Charles B. Wagner (http://bit.ly/cwagner) will be representing the waitress.
Each attendee will receive a binder and a flash drive which will contain papers prepared by the lawyers about different aspects of the case as well as some actual court documents relating to Banton. At the end of the seminar there will be a question and answer session from the panel and the participants.
The seminar will be held Monday, May 16th, 2011 at Shaarei Shomayim 470 Glencairn Ave ON M5N 1V8. Registration starts at 7:30 am. and the seminar starts at 8:00 a.m. For information or to register, call Hyla Reichmann at (416) 633-6224, ext. 128, or email firstname.lastname@example.org .