In some states, the use of a trust is important to avoid high probate fees or expensive and time consuming probate systems. In Pennsylvania, however, there are many good reasons to use a will and some of the advantages of trusts are limited or non- existant. Pennsylvania is genrally speaking, a high tax state and a low probate fee state. We often advise clients to use trusts but there are many reasons that they may want to use a less expensive approach.
Many Pennsylvania residents are being tricked into believing that they should have trusts to avoid "outrageous" probate fees. They are sold these trusts at a very high cost (sometimes more than the probate fees that will be saved) and are often also sold expensive "investments" or "products" that pay high comissions but do not sere the real needs of the elderly person.
These products and services are often sold at seminars or in the home by non lawyers posing as "certified trust advisers". When all is said and done, many of these vistims have form documents that do not serve their needs, prodcuts that are costly, and a plan that is not customized to their desires.
In fact, many states including Pennsylvania have moved legally against these trust mills and the Attorney General of more than one state has moved to sue or to enjoin these bad players from these illegal and abusive practices.
Bottom line? If your aging parent, grandparent or relative wants a trust, get them a good attorney with experience in this area of the law and who preferably will give your relative a flat fee and a free inital consultation. In this way, they will get customized advice from someone who is not trying to sell them finacial products.
And, if they are already working with a trust mill, or a suspected trust mill, try to get the information to help and protect them from being the victim of fraud.
For more information visit this consumer site.
David M. Frees III
David M. Frees III is an attorney and author of many resources, books, reports and papers
for Pennsylvania residents interested in matters related to their estates, trusts, and asset protection
planning for themselves and their heirs.