Watch out for Revocable Living Trust Scams

From the State Bar of Texas:

Living Trust Scams and the Senior Consumer

If you are age 50 or older,you should take special
carewhen buying living trusts. Your age group is
often a special target of salespersons whose goal is
to sell you something without carefully analyzing
your needs.
Itis easyto become a victim.Living trust sales are
a growing area ofconsumerfraud. Con artistsmake
millions of dollars every year selling unnecessary
trusts. Each yearthousands ofconsumers losefrom
$500 to $5,000 through the purchases of unwarranted
living trusts. Often families face potentially greater
costs after the consumer’s death, resulting from
problems associatedwith thetrusts.
To protectyourself, followthese guidelines:
Take time when making your decision. Do not
fall victimto high-pressure, “actimmediately”
sales tactics. Seek the advice of someone
trustworthy and knowledgeable. Contact your
accountant, estate planning attorney, banker
or financial advisor. If you conclude that a
trustmay be rightfor you, deal directlywith a
licensed Texas attorney who has substantial
expertise in estate planning.

Con artists promotetheir business by making false
orincomplete statements aboutthe probate process,
guardianships and the taxation of estates. Such
statements include:
1. Living trusts reduce your estate tax liability.
Misleading. Most Texans’ estates will face
no death taxation (estatetax) at all.Estatetax is
imposed if the decedent’s assets at death exceed
thelimitation imposed bylaw currentlyin effect
forthatyear, i.e. theyear of death. Ifyourestate
is taxable, awillcan accomplish exactlythe same
tax savings as a trust at amuch cheapercost.
If the value of your assets could exceed the
applicable limitation (or if a husband’s and
wife’s combinedassets couldexceedthatamount),
you should see an estate planning attorney to
discuss options tominimizeyour potentialestate
tax liability regardless of who receives your
property. However, a living trust is not required
to take advantage of other techniques to minimize estatetax liability