Compliments of the McGee Law Firm, Attorney Brandon McGee
More and more often, it seems that financial swindles are front-page news. Even seemingly savvy investors have been swindled out of their life savings. One swindle, involving Bernie Madoff and his investment company, recently ended in a guilty plea to numerous counts of fraud. Investors discovered that $65 billion in their investment accounts held by Madoff simply did not exist.
The investors that fell prey to the Madoff ponzi scheme had been very happy. Their investments always performed wonderfully and went higher and higher, as if by magic. There is an old adage that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Well, the Madoff case is just one example of the accuracy of the old adage.
Of course, scams are not limited to the investment field. There are plenty of scams to go around, even in a seemingly staid field like estate planning. Some people promise the moon, at a cost that is amazingly low. Some individuals and companies selling estate planning services are really trying to sell you annuities or other insurance products. Some people are paralegals or unlicensed or novice planners, with little knowledge or experience. This lack of knowledge and experience could cost your estate tens of thousands of dollars or more.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t get taken. Seek the counsel of a qualified estate planning attorney:
- Qualified: Does the person have the experience necessary to handle the complexities of your unique situation? Even the most complex situation may appear simple on the surface. Only a qualified estate planning attorney has the experience necessary to spot all the issues involved.
- Estate Planning: Do they focus in estate planning? If you needed brain surgery, you would go to a brain surgeon. Estate planning is a complex field involving a nexus of several substantive areas of law. Only an estate planning attorney has the knowledge, experience, and judgment necessary to design a plan to meet your unique needs.
- Attorney: Are they licensed to practice law in your state? Only a licensed attorney has the legal knowledge you need to navigate this complicated legal field.
Someone who is unlicensed or unqualified may be cheaper, but unexpected problems may arise. Your family may discover, perhaps only after you are gone, that your estate plan is vague or ineffective to accomplish your goals. Your life savings might not go to the people you intended. Worse, an improperly drafted estate plan could result in your family members paying gift taxes, estate taxes, generation-skipping transfer taxes and even income taxes that could have been avoided or reduced with proper planning. Even worse yet, a poorly drafted plan could result in family discord and years of litigation. In essence, your family may discover that what you have is really an estate scam rather than an estate plan.
A qualified estate planning attorney can help you put a plan in place that will minimize the chance of discord and will ensure that your wishes are carried out.
Compliments of the McGee Law Firm, Attorney Brandon McGee an established member of the prestigious American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, as well as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
Written By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys