Beware Trust Scams and Trust Salesmen

Every year, Pennsylvania residents are bombarded with mass mailings and advertisements that promise them that a trust will save their estate and their heirs lots of money.  In fact, door-to-door salesman will visit homes and explain to residents that the resident will pay thousands of dollars in Pennsylvania inheritance tax and fees if they do not set up a trust.  Do not believe these advertisements or these salesmen.  These campaigns, which are based on false and misleading information, lead consumers to believe that a trust is an absolute must and that it will save them huge sums of money.

Many of these sales efforts are being conducted by salesman who use high-pressure sales techniques and scare tactics.  Often, the consumer never meets personally with an attorney.  The salesman may call at the home of the consumer, who is often elderly and may live alone.  The victims are often convinced to spend as much as $2,000 to $4,000 to purchase a complicated-looking package of documents including a living trust.  Many unscrupulous salesmen are con artists who care only about making the sale and collecting the money.  The work product is shoddy, full of errors and often does more harm than good.  Please take the following steps to protect yourself and your loved ones:

  1. Do not fill out a mail offer regarding estate planning services.
  2. Do not discuss your affairs with anyone other than a licensed attorney.
  3. Meet your lawyer personally.
  4. Deal with people you know.
  5. Ask your friends or neighbors to refer you to an experienced local attorney to discuss your estate planning needs.  Also you may telephone the Pennsylvania Bar Association Referral Service at 1-800-932-0311, and you will be given name(s) of estate planning attorneys in your area.

By taking these steps you can protect yourself from salesman who try to use our legal system to scare seniors into spending more money than they need.

By Lisa Pepicelli Youngs, Esq.

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