In our blog we will try to provide you with general information regarding family law, as well as updates in important cases and statutes dealing with family law in New Hampshire. This is not to be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and small facts can make a difference.
The Rise In Estate Planning Scams
Although the Internet offers a plethora of tools for creating your own estate plan, many New Hampshire estate planning attorneys strongly oppose the DIY method of estate planning. Running an estate planning scam might seem as though it would be difficult to successfully execute, but the number of these scams is quickly growing. The ease with which estate planning scams, both in New Hampshire and across the United States, are being pulled off is startling. The elderly and children, two of the most vulnerable populations in the United States, are always popular targets among the unscrupulous, but those who are passing themselves off as legitimate estate planners have New Hampshire law enforcement scrambling to find a better method of protecting the state’s older citizens.
What Are Estate Planning Scams?
When most of us hear the name Bernie Madoff, we equate his name with Ponzi schemes; however, were you aware that the majority of his victims were elderly Americans who were already in retirement? While his crimes left a bad taste in the mouth of many Americans, there is a newer type of crime that brings the general public’s disgust to a whole new level. Many retired Americans across the country have received distressing phone calls from “grandchildren” who are hysterical and purportedly in dire need of money.
“Grandma” receives a desperate phone call from one of her grandchildren who claims they have been detained in a foreign country and are frantic to get home. Since the emergency scenario appears legitimate at first and because scammers choose victims with whom this scam is a sure bet, the worried grandparent immediately agrees to send their darling grandchild hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. The distressed grandparent does not pause to check the legitimacy of the call with their own adult children because of the frantic state their grandchild appeared to be in. After the funds have been wired, it’s too late to recover any lost money. If a criminal believes that he or she has enough to time to “work over” their victim(s), then they will coax the worried grandparent into sending larger amounts of money. The loss of these monetary funds can have a significant impact on a senior citizen’s already tight budget.
Of course, the tried and true scam of shoddy individuals who pile on worthless types of “insurance” or who promise to update estate planning paperwork for ridiculously high fees still exist. Both these new types of insurance and the “updated” estate planning documents are worthless. The most potent danger in an estate planning scam is the ease with which a criminal can access a person’s Social Security Number, bank account information (for the purpose of paying monthly “premiums” for an illegitimate insurance policy), and a plethora of other personal information that makes identity theft a simple matter. Many victims across New Hampshire have stated that these scammers were so convincing in their act that they believed their own NH estate planning lawyers had dropped the ball.
The Long Term Effects Of Estate Planning Schemes
Any type of estate planning scheme is both frightening and worrisome not only for the victim, but also for the victim’s family. It can destroy a victim’s trust in other people and leave them wondering exactly who they can trust with the estate planning needs. Bearing this in mind, here are several things you should consider as you being the process of finding an ethical and experienced New Hampshire estate planning lawyer.
The first item that you should remember, and that a consumer should understand, that DIY wills and other estate planning documents will leave your loved ones vulnerable. A person who chooses this option may believe that the appropriate legal protections have been put into place, but there are a plethora of concerns associated with these online documents and websites. First and foremost, you cannot be certain of whom you are entrusting your personal information too. Secondly, confusion as to whom should file the documents and where they should be filed often arises after the documents have been completed. Finally, it is rather hard for a layperson to be assured that their estate plan is in full compliance with federal and New Hampshire guidelines.
Remember that no two states laws are exactly alike when it comes to estate planning. The ideal option is for you to meet with an experienced and qualified NH estate planning attorney who is familiar with the complex New Hampshire tax laws and other applicable laws that could potentially cause problems if they are not properly addressed. The peace of mind that a professionally executed estate plan brings is priceless in and of itself, but the benefits that a properly prepared plan brings will ensure that your loved ones are not burdened with considerable taxes and other legal costs.
To learn more about estate planning schemes in New Hampshire and to learn what you can do to protect yourself from these scams, please contact our law offices today.
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