In states across America, the senior population is spending thousands of dollars in savings on wills, living trusts and related legal documents. A big selling point of these legal services is the claim that these documents are prepared by a licensed estate planning attorney with industry experience, but the reality is often entirely different.
Earlier this month, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announced a lawsuit to stop one company from engaging in this fraudulent practice. The company allegedly uses an unlicensed outside party from Arizona to prepare wills and trusts for its clientele rather than a state licensed attorney as advertised. In 2005, the IRS brought a lawsuit against this same outside party for operating a trust scam involving the unlawful sale of leads obtained from insurance agents to businesses for use as a tax shelter.
Seniors citizens across the country are often vulnerable to scam artists looking to take advantage of an older person’s tendency to trust apparent authority figures. The people who operate these trust mills know aging Americans are frequently in need of help with estate planning. They distribute flyers and other ads inviting seniors to a free dinner or other event to discuss trust administration, probate, living trusts and wills. Trust mill operators then go on to exaggerate the need for a living trust, often by instilling the audience of seniors with fear.
As trust scams targeting seniors spread to other states, including Nevada, it’s a good idea to seek help from a licensed attorney before setting up living trusts or finalizing wills through business entities with no legal affiliation. Our country’s senior population should have the luxury of security when it comes to planning the remainder of their years and often the only way to get this security is by hiring an estate planning attorney with a solid reputation.
Source: KARE 11, “Lawsuit filed in alleged trust scam targeting seniors” No author given, Feb. 03, 2014