Death brings out the worst in people, and unscrupulous advisors prey on the elderly and their heirs with questionable legal advice, unnecessary bills and the ever-present living trust come-ons.
Wealth Advisor reports in the article “Beware Of These New Estate Planning Scams” that new estate planning scams focus on taking advantage of an elderly person who may have reduced capacity. Scammers want to get seniors to sign over their property or sign a power of attorney to control the elderly person's estate. The most vulnerable senior citizens are those who have no close relatives.
Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney who can raise issues with you, make suggestions and pinpoint potential issues.
Work with a trusted estate planning attorney and tell your family what to expect when you pass away. If you don’t, you could lose a lot of money to a predatory third-party.
Another one of the new estate planning scams is the trust mills. The National Consumer Law Center says that these scammers are dishonest salespeople who prey on seniors’ fears that after their deaths, their life savings and assets will be stolen. In addition, both the Federal Trade Commission and AARP have issued warnings about these hard-sell living trust promoters.
The con artists who promote living trusts to seniors don’t want to help anyone plan for the future. Instead, they're trying to get their “clients” to hand over lots of money for their extra-special living trust kit. That’s one signal that a so-called estate planner is up to no good—they're offering a one-size-fits-all estate plan solution.
Experts also say you should beware of terms such as "Pure," "Pure Equity" or "Constitutional" Trust. These can be even worse than the living trust scams.
Stay away from these new estate planning scams. Don't take shortcuts and don't wait. Seek the counsel of a state bar-admitted estate planning attorney. He or she will work with you to find the best solutions for your specific needs.
Reference: Wealth Advisor (August 6, 2018) “Beware Of These New Estate Planning Scams”