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Elderly can be targets of scams that lead to trust disputes

Many Minnesota residents who are aging may turn to a financial advisor for help with managing their retirement portfolio. Most of these people are reputable who only have the best interests of their Minnesota clients in heart. Some, however, are less than scrupulous and may take advantage of senior citizens by selling them financial trust plans that could serve only to drain a person's bank accounts.

One common technique that these "advisors" use is networking with the elderly and then inviting them to a nice breakfast or lunch in order to talk about financial options. While they will be trying to sell the couple on a living trust from the get-go, the point of this breakfast is to gather preliminary information.

The preliminary information empowers the scam artist when he or she goes to visit the elderly again, this time alone at the victim's home. By the time he or she leaves, the scam artist will usually have the victim's signature on some living trust documents, or least some sort of firm commitment. Oftentimes, the victims will not talk with either a reputable financial advisor or an attorney.

The problem wit these living trust documents is that they cost a lot but do not really do much at all for an average person. Although one of the pitch lines is that a living trust helps to avoid probate, probate in fact is not too much of a hassle when no one is disputing a will or trust.

On the other hand, these living trust often can be poorly drafted, and expensive and time-consuming trust disputes can be the end result.

Unfortunately, some Minnesota couples may have fallen prey to one of these schemes, leaving their families in a bind. An experienced probate litigation attorney may be able to help sort out the aftermath of a bad living trust scheme.

Source:, "Beware the living trust scam that targets elderly investors," Cyril Tuohy, Nov. 7, 2014.

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