Lancaster, CA (PressExposure) December 30, 2008 -- Antelope Valley Estate Planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln warns consumers about "Living Trust Mills," a scheme where salespeople posing as "living trust experts" sell annuities or other investments under the guise of helping with an individual's living trust.
Usually preying upon senior citizens through home visits or through free seminars in churches, assisted living centers and other places where seniors gather, these sales people use the financial information shared with them by unsuspecting consumers to frighten these people into thinking that their current investments are inferior and riskier than the ones the salespeople are selling.
The salespeople then meet with the person again to deliver the living trust documents and complete the transfer of the consumer's financial assets from the previous investment vehicles to the new ones sold by the salespeople.
"What frequently happens with these 'Living Trust Mills'," said Mark L. Thompson, partner in Thompson Von Tungeln and certified specialist in estate planning who focuses on elder law, "is the unsuspecting consumer gets back a living trust that could be invalid, causing lasting damage to their estate plan. And then find they had a huge tax penalty due to transferring their assets to the salespeople's products, leaving fewer dollars to their heirs." Beware of any seminar or advertisement that includes language like "A licensed insurance agent may contact you." This is a red flag that you are likely dealing with a Living Trust Mill.
When reviewing an estate plan, Thompson advises that consumers consult a licensed attorney, preferably a certified specialist in estate planning and trusts.