The Michigan Department of Attorney General has issued some reminders when it comes to creating a living trust in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Attorney General is not one who allows scams to proliferate in the State. Warnings are generally found on their website to help keep an informed citizenry in the State. Let us look at the general warning.
Living Trusts – Beware of “One Size Fits All” Estate Plans & “Free Lunch Seminars”
Misinformation about the cost and complexity of probate provides a golden opportunity for sales pitches exploiting fears that life savings may be lost to taxes, predatory probate attorneys, or distributed years after death because of court delays. With laws curbing telemarketing sales calls, use of free lunch seminars to pitch estate planning products have surged. Promoted as “educational” programs, these seminars are commonly a sales job in disguise. Be alert to seminars pushing “one size fits all” estate planning products, including living trusts. A decision as important as estate planning should be made with reliable, professional counsel who can help you decide what estate plan is best for your own individual situation, rather than someone whose primary interest is making a sale.
Tips to Remember about Free Lunch Seminars
- Never assume that a seminar is purely informational, even if it is held in a public place such as a library or senior center. Seminars are often designed to sell – either at the seminar itself or later – with sign-in sheets often used to make future sales calls. Attending a seminar may lead to a high pressure in-home sales pitch.
- Seminar speakers may be biased in their ‘estate planning’ recommendations. A seminar is commonly funded with the expectation that the sponsor’s products will be sold to attendees.
- Seminar content and materials may be misleading, with exaggerated claims about the length and cost of probate and the purported advantages of living trusts.
- “Experts” may misrepresent their qualifications. The education, experience, and other requirements for receiving a “senior” designation vary greatly and in some cases may be a marketing tool.
- Product recommendations must be suitable for you. Be wary of “one size fits all” recommendations.
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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