By February 22, 2011

Hyatt Legal Plans and an Issue of Mis-Trust

My new employer ran a promotion for Hyatt Legal Plans, a pre-paid law program where you pay $20 a month and get access to some legal assistance for a small deductible.

On the surface, the program sounded like a good idea for me. I have a will and advanced medical directive that I drafted almost three and a half years ago. However, that was in Virginia and there is a possibility there are some differences in state laws.

More importantly, I have been pursuing the idea of setting up a firearms trust for handling any specific legalities of my firearm collection in the event of my demise. While most of my firearms are plain Jane types of things, there are also certain weapons that have more specific regulatory requirements. Setting up a National Firearms Act trust, or “gun trust” as they are commonly called, eases the transition and possession of firearms.

The problem with setting up an NFA trust is that a lot of lawyers haven’t done one before. The law firm that handled Sedagive’s? divorce is very diverse and experienced, but none of them had drafted one. They were willing to do the research and work with me, but it would be about $600.

Hyatt Legal Plans has a network of over 11,000 attorneys. I thought that there would certainly be one in Minnesota that had drafted an NFA trust. I could also update my will and AMD if necessary, all for less than $20 a month + the $20 deductible. Right?

Wrong.

Exclusions

When you deal with lawyers — or the people who pimp them to you — you have to read the fine print. So I did. There are a list of exclusions, things that aren’t covered by Hyatt, published on their Web site. You can see it here, but these are some highlights:

  • Tax law
  • Business law, including but not limited to any legal matters related to renting property
  • Any legal proceeding against MetLife (they own Hyatt) or your employer
  • Patent law
  • Class action lawsuits

Notice something not excluded? Trusts.

If you are a firearms enthusiast, you know that people are sometimes illogical fucktards when it comes to guns. So I thought I’d call Hyatt and double-check that trusts — specifically NFA trusts — were covered.

I called Hyatt on February 10, 2011 to inquire about covering gun trusts. I spoke with “Shawn,” who was very pleasant and patient. He answered that Hyatt did cover trusts, as long as there was no tax work or tax planning. He further explained that filing costs would not be covered. That was fine by me.

I signed up with Hyatt Legal Plans and made a call to Sedagive’s law firm to get the ball rolling. It was close to the end of the business day, and I wound up sending a follow-up email.

The next day I received an email stating that NFA trusts were not covered by Hyatt’s plan. Having just been told that they were, I called Hyatt again on February 11, 2011 and spoke with “Miss Felicity,” who again intimated that trusts were covered.

“Even an NFA trust?” I asked.

“I don’t know what that is, but a trust is a trust. It’s covered.”

“It’s for firearms, do you know if that’s on the exclusions list?”

“It is not on the exclusions list. A trust is a trust and is covered as long as they don’t involve tax planning.”

She also said that they can’t force attorneys to do work they can’t or don’t want to do, and perhaps I should try contacting other attorneys.

So I did — three, two of which stated they’d never done one. One of the fellows who replied recommended the law firm I contacted in the first place. I never heard back from contestant #3.

I was in a bit of a spot. I knew that the first law firm was willing to do the work, but they believed Hyatt wouldn’t cover setting up the trust. I’d called Hyatt twice and had been told otherwise. Time to break the deadlock.

I spoke with the law firm again. They were very nice, and I told them my problem. The office manager gave me the name of their contact at Hyatt, called a panel representative.

I called him on February 17, 2011 and left a message. I didn’t hear back from him, so I called again on February 18, 2011. He answered this time, and cut me off halfway through my introduction.

“I only deal with lawyers. You have to call customer service for clients.”

“I understand sir, and I apologize. However, client services has told me twice that trusts are covered, and you are telling my attorney something different.”

“I can’t help you, you need to talk with client services.”

He transfered me without another word.

I was routed to another lady, whose name I didn’t write down — but she was just as nice and courteous as the other two client services people I spoke with. I gave her my piece, and she said that a “trust was a trust” as far as she knew, but would talk to the panel representative for clarification.

I explained that I was given a panel representative’s information directly from a lawyer in Hyatt’s program. I added that the panel rep had excluded NFA trusts. The lady on the phone said that he was the final decision maker, and we agreed to cancel my membership.

So, after all that, one thing is clear: Hyatt Legal Plans has mixed messaging about covering NFA “gun” trusts. If Hyatt doesn’t cover NFA trusts, their Web literature and client services personnel need updated information pronto.

My personal opinion is that someone at Hyatt doesn’t like guns. It’s possible that either Hyatt and/or their panel representative don’t want anything to do with firearms.

Please let me know if any of you have Hyatt plans AND have successfully used one of their plan lawyers for a gun trust.

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Posted in: guns

3 Comments on "Hyatt Legal Plans and an Issue of Mis-Trust"

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  1. Before I started my current firm, we accepted HYATT and did many gun trusts for clients that were covered by their insurance. When I started my own firm and applied to accept HYATT they said they were full in my area and were not accepting new attorneys. If you can get HYATT to add us to their program, we would be happy to offer GUN Trusts under their program.

  2. Naomi says:

    Hi DrFaulken, were you able to resolve this with Hyatt Legal Plans? I am looking into getting a plan with them. Thanks!

    • DrFaulken says:

      Hi there! I was not. I wound up going with guntrustlawyer.com and they were much more responsive and a lot less of a hassle. I was very disappointed by my interactions with Hyatt.

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