Most people know that having an estate plan in place is important, yet about half of all Americans do not have even a will in place. One of the main reasons for this is because people often put off addressing how things should be handled once they pass away. It’s not a subject that many people find comfortable even thinking about.
Unfortunately, when people are ready to make plans, they can become victim to scammers who take advantage of people’s fears of wondering what will happen to their loved ones when they are no longer here to take care of them. Scammers also take advantage of the fact that many people don’t know a lot about how estate law works. This is why anyone considering wills and other estate planning tools should always work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
One of the most common forms of estate planning scams are trust mills. A trust mill is any type of entity that pushes living wills as a “one-size-fits-all” tool of estate planning. These companies use different methods of contacting customers, including print ads, email ads, aggressive salespeople, and even door-to-door promotions.
The salespeople try to convince potential customers that the only way to protect themselves from the government and probate attorneys is to purchase living trust kits. These kits are touted as do-it-yourself trusts, but they also serve as a way for these scammers to gain access to a victim’s financial information. This information is then used to try to get the victim to purchase annuities and insurance.
So, how does a person protect themselves from these scam? Some of the red flags is if the company claims to be associated with a legitimate organization, such as AARP. Salespeople for these scams also give false information about how the probate process works, how taxes affect and estate, and embellishing the benefits of living trusts.
The truth is that every person has unique factors when it comes to estate planning and there are no cookie cutter solutions that apply. Trusts need to be customized for the unique needs of the families they are being set up for. It is also true that not every person will benefit from a living trust. This is why it is critical to work with an estate planning attorney to find out what tools are the ones that will benefit you the most.
Contact a Trust Attorney Today
If you have been contacted by a salesperson who is trying to convince you to set up a living trust, contact our office before making any decisions or commitments.
If you would like to learn more about the different trusts available and how trusts can be used in your estate plans, contact a Sacramento estate lawyer today to set up an initial consultation.
Thanks to the Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and trust mills.