When planning an estate, one often can’t afford to receive poor advice or overly expensive services. Unfortunately, there are some professionals who may prey on the elderly and their heirs with self-serving interests.
Losing a loved one can be an emotional and sometimes traumatizing event, which can make it more challenging to arrange their affairs at the time of their death. But it’s often when people are most vulnerable that they fall victim to an estate hoax.
Common estate planning scams
These are a couple of estate planning scams to watch out for:
- Costly fees: Sometimes, a scammer may be a predatory attorney who tries to get heirs to pay exorbitant fees for their services. For example, one person in New Jersey met with their estate planning attorney to draft all of the usual documents necessary based on the individual’s net worth. Unfortunately, once the person died, their children contacted another attorney who took advantage of them. The attorney rushed them into a contract and charged them $15,000 upon their initial meeting and billed more hours as time went on.
- Trust mills: These types of estate scams are still relatively new. In a trust mill, predatory sales people often attempt to sell older adults an investment disguised as estate planning, playing on some of their fears that the government or an untrustworthy probate attorney may try to reduce their assets. They often do this to try and get victims to pay for a costly one-size-fits-all plan.
Identifying schemes can be challenging
In industries where large sums of money are involved, erroneous information and the predatory actions of others can cause financial hardship for victims. Those looking to avoid scams and establish an estate plan may want to call an experienced attorney. They can often help people get their affairs in order to make sure their assets and other possessions are handled with care.