November 22, 2017

Living Trusts Are Probably Not for You

There are many people selling living trust kits. They sell them to unsuspecting people who believe claims that if their assets are transferred through the trust after their death, their beneficiaries and the estate will enjoy huge savings in time and money, compared to having assets pass through a will. For the vast majority of people, this type of trust simply won’t provide the advertised benefits. The costs associated with a living trust are often more than creating a will and having assets distributed through probate.

A trust is a legal entity into which you (the Trustor) places some or all of your assets. They are managed by the trustee, you or whomever you designate until your death or a specific date set by you. The beneficiary is the person getting the benefit of the trust.

Don’t Trust Just Anyone Peddling a Trust

Those involved in selling living trusts often drum up business by contacting consumers (mostly the elderly) by phone or mail to recruit them for seminars or to schedule in-home appointments. High-pressure sales pitches ensue, drumming up fears that assets will be tied up indefinitely in probate or that an estate will be subject to heavy taxes and fees if a living trust is not in place. The sales pitch will probably contain many legal terms the sales prospect doesn’t understand. Many of the complex rules and fees that can complicate estate distributions featured in these sales pitches do not exist in Pennsylvania.

Sometimes “kits” are sold, possibly costing several thousand dollars. They are nothing more than forms that may or may not be valid. Another danger in getting involved in this type of scheme is that the promoters simply want access to financial information so they can sell other financial products, like insurance annuities.

If you have been in contact with one of these operations, don’t buy anything and don’t give away any personal financial information. It may come back to haunt you.

Make an Informed Decision After Speaking
to a Trust and Estates Attorney

If you are concerned about how to best care for loved ones and how assets can pass after death in the most efficient manner with the least estate tax impact, contact our office so we can discuss your goals, your assets and your legal options. We will work with you to ensure your assets and heirs are protected with an appropriate will or trust.

A living trust may or may not be right for you. That’s your decision to make. But you shouldn’t make that decision based on a sales presentation, a binder full of forms or an in home appointment with someone who wants you to sign up now.