Be Aware! Recent Estate Planning Scams

Whether it’s the internet or on television, estate planning strategies and offers are common to encounter. Whatever strategy you end up selecting, your intentions should be captured in your estate planning documents. It’s also a good idea that no one takes advantage of you and you do everything possible to avoid participating in a fraudulent estate planning scheme. To better prepare you for the various estate planning scams out there, this article reviews just a few of the most common types of estate planning fraud about which you should be aware. 


# 1 – Imposter Scams


The most expensive type of scam, imposter scams, involves fraudulent individuals who pretend to be someone you trust. This individual then tricks you into transferring over assets or personal information. These scammers are known to threaten arrest or adverse legal action if their orders are not followed. If you receive a call from anyone claiming to be part of a government organization, you should promptly dismiss it as a scam and hang up.  These organizations are not known to make threats over the phone. 


# 2 – Medicare Scams


This type of fraud involves imposters who pose as Medicare representatives to convince older individuals to disclose their personal information. If someone claims to be from Medicare and requests personal information like your Social Security number, you should realize this is a scam. Remember, you should never disclose personal details to callers regardless of where they come from. Instead, it’s often much better to call Medicare on your own to assess whether any activity was legitimate or fraudulent. 


# 3 – Living Trust Mill Scams


Living trusts can be a powerful estate planning tool based on your circumstances. The National Consumer Law Center, however, has warned about scams involving “living trust mills”.  These scams involve operators who pressure individuals into paying for living trusts whether they need to or not. These scams frequently rely on scare tactics to convince people to pay money. The best way to decide whether you need a living trust is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can assess what your best situation is. 


# 4 – Do-It-Yourself Scams


Some people have been able to turn do-it-yourself estate planning tools into an affordable option. Estate planning, however, is a complex area of law, and do-it-yourself plans can lead to more substantial challenges later on in life. As a result, while not all do-it-yourself options are scams, it’s important to understand that some of them may be. 


# 5 – You Don’t Need an Estate Plan at All


Some people end up believing that they do not need an estate plan because either they have an estate with few assets or they do not anticipate any disputes among their loved ones. Estate planning is not merely about what happens after you pass away, though. Adequate estate planning also considers who can make health care decisions in case of incapacity. As a result, you should be hesitant of anyone who attempts to convince you that you need no estate plan at all. 


Obtain the Assistance of an Estate Planning Attorney

One of the best ways to avoid entering any of these estate planning scams is to forge a relationship with a knowledgeable attorney. At Ettinger Law Firm, our lawyers can help you create an estate plan to achieve your goals. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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