The Michigan Department of Attorney General has issued some reminders when it comes to creating a living trust in Michigan. We have already started the discussion of the living trust in Michigan and the warnings of the Michigan Department of Attorney General.
In this article, let us continue sharing the reminders of the office.
Tips from the Michigan Department of Attorney General
The Michigan Department of Attorney General also wants to remind the public of the tips that they should know whenever they are facing a “free lunch seminar”. Read on this complete list directly from the website:
- Do not be pressured into purchasing a trust based on the in-home sales pitch of a salesman, or immediately following a seminar. Before making any purchase decision, consult with an independent and reliable professional with the necessary background to help you decide what estate plan is best for your individual situation. If you already have a lawyer, discuss the living trust offer with him or her before buying.
- Do not take the word of a sales agent as to whether a living trust is the best estate plan for you. The selection of the appropriate estate plan for your circumstances should not be based on the representations of a person whose primary interest is in making a sale of his company’s estate plan product, and who is not a lawyer or reliable estate planning professional. If the sales agent says that the purchase price will include consultation with an attorney, wait until after the promised attorney consultation to select and pay for the estate plan.
- Before buying a living trust from a stranger, call a local lawyer and ask him or her what they charge for preparing trusts. Often the price is much higher than what a local lawyer would charge. Companies selling living trusts rely on the public’s apprehension that attorneys are costly.
- Be wary if a trust salesperson promises specific results or dollar savings. Costs of probate and attorney fees vary greatly from state to state, and according to personal circumstances.
- Check out trust company lawyers with the State Bar of Michigan. If the trust salesperson promises a lawyer will review the customer’s documents, demand the name of the lawyer and check with the State Bar of Michigan to make certain the lawyer is licensed to practice in Michigan.
- If the salesperson gives the impression that his or her company or the living trust being sold is recommended or endorsed by AARP, do not buy! AARP does not endorse or recommend any living trust product at this time.
- Do not give personal or confidential family and financial information to a salesperson, even if the salesperson promises it will be passed on to a licensed lawyer. Meet with or discuss the matter with the lawyer personally.
- Watch out for companies that sell trusts and also try to sell annuities or other investment. Under the guise of setting up a living trust, financial information disclosed to salespeople may be used to sell financial products, such as annuities. In some instances, the real goal of the living trust sale is to gain access to asset information in order that sales agents can earn high commissions by “moving” existing investments into others being sold by the living trust company.
- If the salesperson says part of the trust cost will pay the lawyer’s fee, do not buy! A lawyer may not split a fee with the salesperson or the trust company.
- Discuss whether you can get your money back if you are not satisfied, and get the promise in writing.
- If you have already purchased a living trust without personal consultation with an attorney, have the living trust document reviewed by a reliable attorney. Make sure that the living trust document will achieve your intended estate planning goals. Unscrupulous living trust sales people may charge thousands of dollars for what amounts to a set of pre-printed legal forms. In some instances, because all consumers are sold the same package, the living trust may be ill-suited or even contrary to individual estate planning needs.
These are all taken from the Michigan Department of Attorney General. We think it is best to dive further into these facts in the coming articles.
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