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Avoiding scams when considering the creation of trusts

The value of establishing one or more trusts is something that virtually all Oklahoma residents can appreciate. That said, many people who want to make use of trusts also want to save money up front while still taking advantage of the benefits that trusts offer down the line. To that end, some will look for ways to cut costs in relation to this important estate planning process. Unfortunately, a number of scams are in circulation that could harm consumers.

One of the most common scams involves an offer to create a trust for a very minimal fee. The client will meet with an individual to discuss his or her goals and needs, and he or she will receive a set of documents in return. However, those documents are usually created by way of a template, and they do not offer a customized solution. It is important to understand that in order to be effective, a trust must be structured and funded in very specific ways. Failure to meet those standards can render a trust useless.

Another scam is far more direct. In this example, an unscrupulous individual will meet with a client and gather a great deal of information concerning that person's assets. That information will then be used in an act of identity theft or to steal a portion of the client's assets. This can lead to a great deal of stress, anxiety and lost time.

For those in Oklahoma who want to take advantage of the power of trusts while also keeping costs manageable, the best course of action is to meet with an estate planning attorney to discuss the available options. Trying to reduce expenses by using discount services could backfire. In the worst case scenario, the urge to save money could end up costing quite a bit more than what those savings might have been in the first place.

Source: sdnews.com, "ASK THE RETIREMENT CONCIERGE: This estate planning move could be a disaster in disguise", Aug. 18, 2015

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