People think they are doing the right thing by planning for the future, and they are—but you have to be careful who you let handle assets. Many new scams are focused on estate planning for seniors.
Scammers prey on the elderly, giving them deliberately bad legal advice, pressuring them into unnecessary and inappropriate investments and trying to separate vulnerable people from a lifetime of savings.
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.
If you are being pressured to do anything quickly or someone you don’t know is telling you that you can make a lot of money fast, steer clear. An estate planning attorney who is a member of your local or state bar association will work with you to create a plan that works for your situation and will welcome your family’s involvement.
Reference: Wealth Advisor (August 6, 2018) “Beware Of These New Estate Planning Scams”