Scams run amok across virtually every industry, ranging from the financial sector to fashion, art and recreation. It should come as no surprise, then, that the estate planning industry is not immune from a similar plight – and we caution our clients regularly to keep on the lookout for the red flags of the latest estate planning fraud.
One of the biggest indicators that a proposed estate planning tool is likely ill-advised is the tactics employed by the proponent – the pushier, the fishier we say. Over-zealous sales tactics are a surefire sign that the company or entity involved does not have the client's best interests at heart, and is likely trying to meet a quota or earn a commission. More specifically, any estate planner that encourages clients to sign quickly with minimal background information is undoubtedly an entity worth avoiding.
In Michigan, a new scam has arisen involving fraudsters targeting folks while posing as representatives of the local probate court. According to reports, these scam artists are calling individuals at home, suggesting that they should draft a will as soon as possible. What's more, the caller asserts he or she is affiliated with the local probate court, and will then attempt to make an appointment with the person to meet at their home to discuss an estate plan.
First, this type of scam is wholly adverse to the protocol and procedures of the state probate courts, which would never send a representative to a person's home without both a specific reason and a court order. According to the Better Business Bureau, the scam is most rampant in Western Michigan – specifically, as relating to the Kent County probate court. However, there is reason to believe the scam artists will try a similar con on Michigan residents elsewhere, and residents should be advised that the probate court would never contact an individual directly to encourage that person to set up an estate plan.
To learn more, contact attorney Andrew Byers today!
If you have questions about the estate planning process in Michigan, please contact our Auburn Hills office right away.