Protect Yourself from Estate Planning Scams


Estate planning is the best way to ensure that your loved ones will be taken care of after your passing, but it's vital that you understand how to protect yourself from unscrupulous individuals seeking to take advantage of vulnerable seniors through estate planning scams.

Your estate plan should be prepared by a lawyer with the training and experience necessary to address your individual needs and concerns. Be wary of those who are promoting one-size-fits-all wills or living trust kits, as these types of documents often don't provide the protection you need and could end up having serious financial consequences for your estate. Additionally, your estate planning lawyer or financial adviser should not be trying to sell annuities or other commission-based products. Annuity scams can be particularly problematic as they often fail to disclose the early withdrawal penalties that may be incurred when moving existing assets into an annuity or fully explain the adverse tax consequences of the transaction.

Before you hire someone to assist you with your estate plan, ask for identification and a description of his or her experience, training, and expertise. You can also research companies via the Better Business Bureau and local or state consumer protection offices.

It is common for unscrupulous individuals to resort to high pressure tactics when running an estate planning scam. Do not do business with anyone who pushes you to make an immediate decision regarding the purchase of financial planning documents or services. Do not sign any document you do not fully understand, and always insist upon a copy of the signed document for your own personal records.

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or misrepresentation, you should file a report with the district attorney or local law enforcement officials immediately.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at if you are in need of assistance creating an estate plan. Our Pasadena estate planning firm can help ensure that you are protected no matter what the future holds.