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Beware of Trust Mills and Similar Estate Planning Scams

Posted on in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning lawyersEvery adult should have some type of estate plan in place. Even just a relatively simple will could provide a great deal of security and direction for surviving loved ones in the event of a tragedy. However, the reality is that more than half of Americans do not have an estate plan of any kind.

While there may be many reasons for this, arguably the most common is procrastination. Most people realize that an estate plan is a good idea, but it is not always something that is a high priority. As a result, people tend to wait until they approaching retirement age to begin the process. Those who wait, unfortunately, often find themselves the unwitting targets of scammers who are simply looking to make money as they prey on the fears and uncertainty of those looking for peace of mind.

What Are Trust Mills?

Estate planning scams can take many forms, and they are not limited to shady-looking, back-alley operations. Fully licensed attorneys have been known to take advantage of estate planning and administration situations in an attempt to collect unnecessary fees. Trust mills are another common source of estate planning scams that you should be aware of.

The term “trust mill” refers to any entity that aggressively pushes living wills as a “one-size-fits-all” approach to estate planning. These entities often employ pushy salespeople, as well as print, email, and door-to-door promotions, to convince vulnerable individuals that they need to buy a living trust kit in order to protect themselves from the government and “greedy probate lawyers.” Such tactics are used to generate sales of DIY kits and, in some cases, to gain access to information regarding the victims’ financial situation, which could lead to sales of other unneeded products like insurance or annuities.

Recognizing the Danger

Trust mills often try to trick victims into believing that the mill is associated with or recommended legitimate organizations like the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). They also rely heavily on exaggerations and false claims regarding the probate process, taxes, and the capabilities of the trusts they offer.

As you may already know, a living trust can absolutely be a useful tool for many individuals and families. It is not, however, a one-size-fits-all solution. The terms of the trust must be customized to meet your unique situation and needs. It is also true that your family might not need a living trust based on your financial circumstances. Another type of estate planning instrument might be better suited to help you. A qualified estate planning lawyer can assist you in analyzing your situation and help you decide what estate planning product you need to protect your family’s security.

Call a Lombard Estate Planning Lawyer

If you have been approached by a salesperson or you have received an advertisement about setting up a living trust, contact an experienced DuPage County trusts attorney before you make any decisions. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of the team at A. Traub & Associates today.

 

Sources:

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

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


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