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Beware of Unethical Sales of Living Trusts, Annuities

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

As Attorney General, I urge seniors to exercise great caution when considering living trusts. For the vast majority of seniors, a living trust is NOT likely to be preferable to a will and a durable power of attorney. Each person should consult a Texas attorney who is experienced in estate planning to analyze whether or not a living trust is appropriate for them because the decision depends on each person's individual circumstances.

Living trusts are often sold using false or misleading information about the benefits they offer or by representations that everyone needs a living trust. Some con artists charge as much as $1,800 for a living trust and will try to talk you into the sale without regard to whether it is really appropriate for you. You should be particularly wary of a person who is selling living trusts from door to door and of attorneys and financial advisors recommended by them.

You should also be cautious about allowing a living trust salesperson to see your assets and your net worth. If you are subsequently contacted by a salesperson offering annuity products, you should be aware that there are several types of annuities, which may or may not be appropriate for seniors as a tool for financial planning. For more information about living trusts and other forms of advance planning, visit the Senior Texans Page of our Web site.

General Abbott's signature
Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas

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