Estate Planning Scams

Recently attorneys with the State Bar of Michigan’s Elder Law and Disability Section and Probate and Estate Planning Section gave hundreds of presentations throughout the state to warn senior citizens about common estate planning scams.

Senior couple

Estate planning scams are all too common in the United States. In fact, they seem to be on the increase. They normally involve non-attorneys who have a vested interest in getting consumers to purchase products, such as life insurance, annuities and trusts regardless whether such products are in the consumers’ best interests.

Attorneys from the State Bar of Michigan have seen enough of these scams. As a result, they made a week-long effort to reach out to likely targets of the scams and warn them about what to look out for. Their effort was recently reported by The Times Heraldin an article titled “Matt Wallace: Who should you trust?”  According to the attorneys, here are two common scams:

  • The Free Meal – Scammers will offer a free meal to get seniors to come to their presentations on estate planning. The presentations are often nothing more than scare tactics designed to intimidate seniors into acting to the scammers’ benefit. Then, the scammers will offer to sell to the seniors the tools to deal with the made-up scares.
  • The Home Visit – Scammers will send out information cards asking for people to reply if they would like to receive information about estate planning. Those who send the cards back will receive a home visit during which the scammers will employ their scare tactics.

These scams are common throughout the United States and not just in Michigan. The best thing that you can do to protect yourself is to never purchase anything for an “estate plan” without first consulting an estate planning attorney. The attorney can tell you whether or not you are being scammed.

Reference: The Times Herald (August 9, 2014) “Matt Wallace: Who should you trust?”

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