If you’re in the process of creating an estate plan, have you considered including a living trust? A living trust is a document that helps manage your possessions. It also allows you to assign a trustee to make decisions over how your property should be distributed or sold on your behalf. This is useful if an unfortunate event happens to you like an illness or accident that prevents you from making those decisions yourself.
Unfortunately, scammers, such as fraudulent companies or individuals pretending to be estate planning lawyers or agents, will target elders by persuading them to hand over control and/or ownership of their possessions. This can be done over the phone, through an online offer, or in person. Before drafting a living trust, read on for a few tips to prevent falling for a scammer.
There are different ways a scammer can get your attention. Some fraudulent estate planning companies will market living trusts at extremely high prices. These scammers will even identify themselves with a similar name to AARP to gain your trust.
Proceed with caution if an agent from an alleged living trust company offers their services through:
- Door-to-door sales
- Seminars at senior centers
Do Not Impulsively Purchase a Living Trust
Putting an estate plan together takes time, so it’s important for you to be patient while doing it. Scammers can pressure seniors into immediately signing up for their services. If approached by an estate planning agent, ALWAYS ask to see their identification and licensing.
Before moving forward with your estate plan, always do the following:
- Get advice about your situation from an accountant or financial advisor.
- Contact our McAllen estate planning lawyers for a consultation.
Warn Your Elders About These Scams
According to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, an estimated $3 billion is lost each year due to financial scams, including elder financial abuse. So, how can you warn your elderly parents about the dangers of these scams?
Create a “safety checklist” with your elderly parents if someone tries to entice them with estate planning documents, insurance, or other services. This list should include steps to:
- Ignore phone numbers they don’t recognize.
- Block phone calls from companies trying to sell living trusts.
- Delete emails from suspicious users offering living trusts.
- NEVER giving their personal information to anyone that they don’t know online, by phone, or otherwise.
- Look up the company offering these services through the Better Business Bureau.
Speak to Our Estate Planning Lawyers
If you’re looking to have a living trust added to your estate planning efforts, contact Fryer and Hansen in McAllen. Our estate planning lawyers can properly asses your estate and are experienced in drafting all end-of-life documents and preparing your estate for probate.