You are contacted by a lawyer or estate planner who offers a "free" consultation regarding living
trusts. After the consultation, the salesperson charges a
high fee to prepare the trust. The salesperson also
encourages you to sell your life insurance policy and
purchase an annuity but does not tell you about hidden fees
and penalties. The salesperson often uses scare tactics and
exaggeration about Probate Court and taxes to convince you
to buy this trust.
You are contacted via phone call or mail to attend
a seminar or schedule an in-home appointment to
learn the benefits of a living trust. Once you attend the
seminar or appointment, you are pressured to set up a living
trust. You may be told that your assets will be tied up
indefinitely or that your estate will be prone to heavy
taxes or fees if a living trust is not in place. You may
also be pressured to purchase a living trust 'kit', which
costs thousands of dollars.
HOW CAN CONSUMERS PROTECT THEMSELVES?
Do your homework - research living trusts with several
reputable professionals and gather information to determine
if a living trust is appropriate for your estate. While
living trusts are one strategy to plan in advance for the
distribution of assets after your death, make sure you shop
around to ensure you are getting the best deal with the most
trustworthy estate planner or attorney.
Living trusts are legal arrangements and should be
developed with or reviewed by an attorney who specializes in
estate planning or elder law.
Be cautious of "free lunches," and never invite someone
into your home that seems pushy or untrustworthy. Ask a
trusted friend or legal advisor to review the trust with
you, and be on the look out for surrender fees and tax
payments you could face if you transfer your assets.
Don't fall prey to fear tactics or high-pressure sales
pitches. Do not sign anything you do not understand, and
take any paperwork or contracts to a trusted lawyer before
you sign. Before you purchase any type of ‘kit’, speak with
a lawyer to find out exactly what forms and paperwork you
Ohio Supreme Court Directory to verify if the individual selling trust services has been
admitted to practice law in Ohio. While a securities broker
or insurance agent may recommend a living trust, only an
attorney can create one.
HOW TO REPORT IF YOU'VE BEEN A VICTIM
Ohio Attorney General's office: If you
have been pressured into signing a contract or you think
your living trust is a scam, contact the Ohio Attorney
General's office (800-282-0515) as soon as possible.
Better Business Bureau (BBB): You should
also submit a complaint to BBB (513-421-3015 or
www.cincinnati.bbb.org) to report the problem and to
receive assistance with resolving the dispute.
Pro Seniors: The Pro Seniors legal
hotline (513-345-4160) offers free legal information and
advice to Ohio seniors age 60 and over. Consider contacting
Pro Seniors before signing any legal documents or making any
For more information on preventing senior scams, visit these
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and U.S.
Department of Justice - STOP Medicare
Copyright 2011. Hamilton County Ohio. 138 E. Court Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
Information on this site is for informational purposes only and is believed to be true and accurate. This information should not be considered as legal advice and Hamilton County disclaims any liability for errors or omissions. External links to other sites are intended to supplement information on this website and do not have the endorsement of Hamilton County.