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Is a living trust mill an estate planning scam in California?

We have often discussed how important it is to have all your estate planning documents in order just in case you pass away. It is important for our readers in California to know that there are some people who will prey on your desire to have your affairs in order. Some of these people operate living trust mills. These mills are sometimes aimed at stealing money from people who think they are doing a good thing.

What is a living trust mill?

Living trust mills use salespeople to con people, especially senior citizens, out of their hard-earned money. They sometimes give a pitch that makes the senior citizen think that their bank accounts and similar assets aren't safe. Instead of keeping money in those "unsafe" assets, they get the senior citizens to invest in unnecessary annuities and other investments.

How can a living trust mill affect senior citizens?

These agent will sometimes steal the senior citizen's financial information, which is later used to wipe out what assets the senior citizen has left. In some cases, they get the senior citizen to move assets, such as mutual funds or other assets, to a trust.

How can I protect myself against living trust mill scams?

There are several ways that senior citizens can protect themselves from these living trust mills and other fraudulent services. One of those ways, according to the California Office of the Attorney General, is to work with an attorney who is familiar with the estate planning process. An attorney who is qualified in estate planning can help senior citizens to determine the proper estate planning method and can review existing plans.

Source: State of California Department of Justice, "Living Trust Mills" Jan. 05, 2015

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