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Beware of the risk of estate planning scams

Any time there is an exchange of money for services, there are individuals out there who are ready and willing to run a scam. This is true even within the field of estate planning. Most Philadelphia residents will turn to legal professionals to complete their estate planning packages, but there are some who will try to save money by using services that are not provided by a legal professional.

Such may be the case for one West Coast woman who used an advertised service to create a family trust and will. She recognized the value of having these documents in place, but she may have missed the mark in determining how to achieve that end. Instead of working with an estate planning attorney, she allowed an individual to complete the documents for a fee of only $550.

A common problem with estate planning services that are not offered through an attorney is that the documents are prepared using a template. Estate planning is a highly personalized process, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. If these documents are not specific to an individual's financial or family situation, problems could arise when loved ones attempt to implement the plan.

Even worse, some estate planning services that are offered in Philadelphia through advertisements are actually scams. Individuals are able to gain a great deal of personal information while putting together the estate planning package. That information is later put to use in defrauding the individual of his or her hard-earned money. The victim is also usually left with inadequate estate planning coverage, adding insult to injury.

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

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