Fraud Alert – Living Trusts

Senior citizens are often targeted by unscrupulous salespeople who prey on seniors’ financial fears in order to sell unwanted, unnecessary, and/or unsuitable living trusts, legal plans, and other financial products. Seniors should use extreme caution when approached by individuals trying to sell these types of products.

Living trusts organize your financial affairs and living wills spell out your health care wishes. The two are often confused. Scam artists play on the fact that seniors are not familiar with living trusts, so they advertise presentations at hotels or restaurants or come to your door with information to teach you about financial options, including trusts. Protect yourself. Watch for the following clues:

  • A salesperson requests highly personal financial information.
  • A salesperson, untrained in the law, says you need a trust or makes misleading statements about trusts such as: “A trust will protect your estate from inheritance taxes.”
  • Thousands of dollars are charged for boilerplate forms.
  • The sales pitch grossly emphasizes the need to avoid probate and grossly exaggerates the costs of probate.

Do not put your financial future into the hands of a door-to-door salesperson. Consult an attorney or financial planner who specializes in estate planning, or contact your local Legal Services.

Learn more about frauds and scams targeting seniors at smpresource.org.