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Many people and millions of dollars are being taken in by living trust scams. Overselling (or lying about) the benefits of living trusts causes thousands to spend money on living trusts they do not need.
According to CNN, states attorneys general have become increasingly concerned about the sale of living trusts to seniors who often do not need them and can in fact be harmed by purchasing them.
First off, what is a living trust? A living trust is not the same thing as a living will. Living wills allow people to communicate their preferences about medical treatment should they become incapacitated.
A living trust, on the other hand, is a tool by which someone can transfer assets to a trust during their lifetime. In certain specific situations, living trusts can be useful for avoiding the probate process and/or minimizing estate taxes upon one's death. However, for most people, living trusts are not needed. CNN cites the AARP as claiming that only 5% of the population should consider a living trust.
See FindLaw's Law & Daily Life for a breakdown of when a living trust might be useful.
As far as the scams being run primarily on senior citizens through seminars, luncheons, in-home, telephone and other hard sales tactics, be aware of these false (or at least misleading) claims about living trusts.
To plan out what will happen with your assets, consult an estate planning attorney, who can help you choose from all options whether a living trust would be applicable and whether it would be the best way to achieve your goals.
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