Estate Planning: Not everyone needs a living trust — Legal Tidbit

Living trusts provide the best way to ensure that your worldly possessions go to those who survive you, correct?

Not really.

You can be scammed, duped, tricked by what’s been called a growing underground activity.

Be careful, be very careful when preparing a living trust.

A living trust basically is an instrument that people develop to provide a clean and painless inheritance. The idea is to give heirs easy access to what you leave behind, rather than having them endure the sometimes lengthy process of going through potentially lengthy court proceedings.

That’s all fine. Except that unscrupulous individuals are making a handsome living tricking people with sophisticated scams that cost families everything.

Texas Young Lawyers and the State Bar of Texas provide plenty of help in guiding people away from scam artists.

Scams prey on people’s preconceived notions of what people think they know about living trusts.

Scammers feather their own business by providing false information about living trusts.

Living trusts do not enable people to qualify for public assistance; these trusts do not necessarily prevent others from contesting wills; living trusts do not enable individuals to ward off creditors; probate procedures do not necessarily to take years to complete.

How does one avoid being scammed? Take your time and consider all your options carefully. Be sure to vet sales people who come calling on you. Take advice only from those you trust implicitly. Be sure you respond to inquiries only when you understand them completely. Listen to your cautious side rather than acting on impulse.

Living trusts might be right for you, but not always. Tread carefully when planning to take care of those you survive you. If you don’t, the world is full of unscrupulous folks more than willing to take advantage when you fall short.