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Be Wary of Estate Planning Scams

Posted on in Estate Planning

DuPage County estate planning attorneyWhether you have never written a will or you are decades into maintaining a comprehensive estate plan, everyone should be on the lookout for a new type of scam artist: the estate planning scammer. The complex nature of estate planning has given unscrupulous individuals an opportunity to scam money out of innocent victims.

Facing your own mortality when planning for your family’s future can be overwhelming and emotional. Sadly, it is this emotional vulnerability which scammers use to trick people into ineffective and unnecessarily expensive estate plan “assistance”. If you are planning to draft a will or other estate planning document, make sure to avoid taking legal advice from unqualified or untrustworthy individuals. A licensed estate planning attorney can help ensure that your estate plans are sound and legally binding.

Understand What You Need and What You Do Not Need

Everyone should have an estate plan of some kind. Many people make the mistake of thinking that only the wealthy or those with children need a will or other estate plan. Most people own items of value (whether financial or personal value) that they wish to pass on to loved ones after they die. Estate planning allows you to guarantee that your property ends up where you want it to be after you pass away. Estate plans can also include decisions about final arrangements. Making decisions like these in advance saves your surviving family and friends the burden of guessing what you would have wanted. If you have minor children, creating an estate plan allows you to choose a guardian to care for your children if you pass away before they reach adulthood. Individuals with greater or more complex assets will require more complex estate plans that those without much property.

Beware of “Trust Mills”

A living trust is a type of estate planning document that places assets into a trust which is managed by a trustee. Once the grantor passes away, the trust’s assets are disseminated to successor beneficiaries. Living trusts are highly beneficial in certain situations, but they are not the right choice for everyone. “Trust mills” is a term used to describe predatory organizations who aggressively push living trusts – even when this particular estate planning tool is not appropriate. Trust mills often take shortcuts and provide “one-size-fits-all” solutions instead of the unique, personalized estate plans people actually need and deserve. Trust mills often pressure clients into purchasing investments that offer them little financial benefit but gain the mill high commissions. Trust mills can even make mistakes that result in lengthy litigation.

Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney

For quality legal advice from professionals you can depend on, call the Lombard estate planning lawyers at the law offices of A. Traub & Associates. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule an appointment today.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherelliott/2018/07/16/beware-of-these-new-estate-planning-scams/

https://www.nclc.org/images/pdf/older_consumers/consumer_concerns/cc_avoiding_living_trust_scams.pdf

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