Predatory estate planning “help” should be avoided

by | Jul 26, 2018 | Estate Planning |

New Yorkers are smart to take the necessary steps to have a quality estate plan, but one issue they frequently run into is that they do not know who to trust. Since the idea of death – whether it is imminent or not – can bring emotional pain and fear, there might be a few steps missed when getting help crafting an estate plan. Knowing what to look for regarding dangers and what is needed are key aspects to having an estate plan that serves its purpose and adheres to the goals of the testator.

Often, people do not even think they need to have an estate plan. This is a mistake that many make, and it costs their families after their death. For example, if there are issues, such as funeral plans, sentimental items that the person wants to remain in the family and go to a specific heir, special needs children, a business, property and more, an estate plan is vital. Older people could be taken advantage of when they are moving forward with an estate plan. Some unscrupulous people will seek to get a power of attorney to control the elderly person’s possessions.

Costs can be a topic for dispute. Some who have ideas and plans about an estate plan will charge exorbitant fees for their advice. Having a law firm that is experienced and respected in helping people with their estate plan is a wise decision. The lawyer works for the individual putting together the estate plan, not vice versa. This should be remembered.

A relatively new way in which people are victimized by scammers is a “trust mill.” This is a way in which older people are taken advantage of as salespeople try to steal their assets by offering a series of strategies that benefits them. A “comprehensive” estate plan that purports to cover all the possible eventualities is likely a scam, as there is no one size fits all in estate planning. Trusts and wills should be completed by experienced attorneys whose interests are congruent with the client’s. Discussing estate planning with a qualified law firm can avoid these scams and adhere to the goals of the client.