Who Should I Avoid For Drafting My Arizona Living Trust?
Attorney General has warned citizens in the past about unlicensed
salesman and/or financial planners who want to create your living
trust. Though it is not illegal to use them (who then have a
connection to a lawyer somewhere behind the scene as trust
ghost writer), be careful as many just want to see how much
money you have so they can sell you annuities, viaticals, or
other investments that may not be best suited to your
Normally, the products they
show you will be on the "high" end for commissions in
pocket! (Which means you probably are over paying
them if you do business with them!) Just remember, that by
doing the trust with them, you WILL expose ALL of your
assets to them. So, choose wisely!
Here are a
few of the "types" of trust salesman that may be out to get
your legal documents business:
The "Jacked Up" Trust Salesman
The worst group
to stay away from are the "jacked up" salesman and so-called
planners (they will sometimes use designations that are not
professionally recognized) that are connected to "trust
mills" that usually give inflated quotations of what it
costs to go through probate in Arizona.
programs are designed to scare you into buying a living
trust at a high fee based on False
Real. Yes, good old
F.E.A.R. has probably sold more trusts to our senior
population than any other tactic. Just don't become
another one of those victims. This site will help you
You can identify
these programs because they are extremely high priced. That
salesman can make a good commission by splitting the fee
with the lawyer or document preparer who actually is
drafting the documents. You will NOT be able to talk
to the actual document preparer/lawyer for your questions in
most cases. And worst, the legality of the
person drafting is also in question in a trust mill.
If the person is not a lawyer, he or she is in violation of
Arizona law if they are not certified as an AZCLDP (Arizona
Certified Legal Document Preparer).
You can identify
these people. They will tell you a
closing story that will make it seem like you will be
missing out if you don't sign and pay them on their first
call to your home or business. (If they push you for a
decision -- during a house call -- this approach alone
should tip you off).
If they "push",
don't buy it! They may be using abusive and illegal
sales practices. Just show them the door when you feel
pressured. It is all a selling technique (legal or
otherwise) designed to separate your cash from your
pocket...and into theirs! Some may actually deliver a
credible product in spite of the pressure selling, but
others will not.
And, a final
warning -- you will easily "like" this person, at least
initially because they come all "jacked up" with fun and
emotion knowing if they can get you emotional, you will buy
no matter how high the price is!
That's what makes
them so dangerous to your wallet...
Hint: Measure them in your mind, whether they
are being mostly emotional or mostly logical. A heavy on
"emotions" presentation could be used to mislead you. But
generally, a heavy logical presentation will not.
Unusually Low Priced Trust Products
Recently, I have
seen a derivative of the "Ugly" described above by some
trust salesman coming in on the opposite end of the price
point grid. These are trusts offered with an extremely low
fee to prepare the trust portfolio. Ads may brag about
"lowest prices" or "lower than any attorney", etc.
may also be dangerous to your estate assets and suddenly
un-employ your money advisors you may have used for years to
help you manage your estate assets. The salesman or
financial planner in this scenario may be paying most of the
trust cost or fees to the lawyer who prepares the documents
for just a few hundred dollars. The planner then uses
the trust documents as a "loss leader", to get in your door,
which forces him to recover payment for his time by selling
you commissioned products you may not want or need.
So, watch out
unusually low trust portfolio prices or someone
pushing a trust only. (without the accompanying and
extremely important portfolio documents also being included)
The person could
be legitimate, but if so, normally the delivered product
will be nearly 100% boiler plate, simplified and short in
page count. (therefore short in what contingencies are
actually being covered in your situation) These cheap trusts
are usually just produced on consumer level trust software
programs a small law firm may be forced to use. Low costs
trusts rarely will come from custom high end trust modules
and software that must be used to get a more professional
and definitive legal document result. And, many times,
recent law changes are not reflected in
the low cost "bargain" trust offers out there. A good way to
test is to check their web site or literature and look for
outdated estate tax law (it has changed drastically over the
past 13 years!), or printed materials showing charts and
graphs from past years. If you don't see the new 2013 estate
tax law changes -- you most likely won't get them either in
a cheap bargain trust offer, once delivered.
And, if a trust
portfolio is offered to you really cheap, please remember
that you could then be a "mark" for recovery on the
salesman's end for his or her time spent with you.
Some of these folks in this group will do everything
possible to gain your trust and then later stick it to you
with high commission life insurance, IRA transfers to mutual
funds with commissions, or annuity presentations -- all when
they deliver your trust. There is nothing wrong with
these additional products or services. But, when they
get crammed down your throat when you don't really need
them, or when you can't actually be "bettered" by making the
changes, then there is something wrong with this group and
their people and the techniques they use to trick you.
Again, use extreme caution when talking to anyone
pushing "low price" as the main selling point. My review of
these trusts for clients that got "burned" was that low
price - is the ONLY selling point in the
finished work you get. Many of my clients started with
these, and upgraded to my professional services when they
saw they didn't get much for their money! In some cases,
they got a generic trust with little or no Arizona trust
code in them! And the general power of attorney and
healthcare power of attorney documents and living will, all
reflect law from somewhere else!
Steering Clear of Crooks
Masquerading as Advisors
This site is
designed to give you the ammunition you need to be able to
the right questions up front so you can steer clear of
engaging the wrong firm or person to assist you with your
living trust needs. Sadly, unscrupulous trust salesman use a
living trust presentation to get at what they really want -
commissions on as much of your investment money, no matter
how much it damages you. But, some even forego the quest to
get commissions on your money.
out to take your money
Yes it's true.
You literally must "trust" the advisor you choose, and the
firm you choose as well, to prepare your trust in
confidence. Knowing how to tell the difference between who
is trustworthy and who is not, will help guard you against
becoming another financial victim here in Arizona. I'm going
to give you some tips so your work is easier in this task
and so you don't procrastinate any longer. A lot of people
who come to this information site do end up drafting a trust
soon after (we hope with us) and admit the site helped
motivate them into taking action.
All it took was
Bernie Madoff, to force us to rethink
trusting advisors. Though thousands of clients have
made me their "trusted financial advisor" for the
last 38 years
-- good ol' Bernie has tossed a ring of dis-trust into the
fire of my chosen financial professions. Now, I too
have to try harder to gain your trust in me and my services
Consumers are more suspicious now. Seeing numerous
name brand stock brokerage firms go down into the ground in bankruptcy -- all make my job harder now.
These negative events the past six years are not going to
make you trust me or anyone else as much as you might have
before they happened.
the reasons for losing money or not getting what some company
promised you, life goes on. Using the
lame excuse you can't trust anyone isn't going to hold
so well if you leave your family hanging on the limb without
proper estate planning documents when you become disabled or
when you die. There is no excuse for that. I'm
sorry, but if you have money and assets to protect, don't
ignore this important part of financial planning. Plan
it out. Just be more careful in who you choose to help
A Final Caution
final caution is in order for your consumer protection.
You could be
with a trust salesman to the point, you will let down your
guard. Even after years of trusting financial advisors who
help you in managing your money, a few "slick" salesman will
perform absolute malpractice in some of the investments they
may push hard, the day they deliver your living trust and
any other documents included with it.
Some may even
arrange for a notary, or are themselves a notary -- so you can execute
the documents at your kitchen table. In appreciation
of the free notary services, you may very well feel
obligated to take a look at their investment products.
Just like the ads that run in our local newspapers quoting
CD rates on nothing more than annuity contracts quoting a
"first year only" interest rate, (caution in investing,
since full disclosure is proper in these ads on exactly what
is really for sale), deceiving sales practices also take
place by some unscrupulous salesman in these trust delivery
IRA account, I am a licensed
Realtor and a nationally known retirement consultant that
directly allows me to draft important provisions and assist
in the funding process as well.
My firm's Legacy
Trust Portfolio is nearly 275 pages (married version), and
would cost about $3,500 if prepared at the same professional
level by a brand name Phoenix or Scottsdale law firm. The
free funding services I give away at no cost (complimentary
funding no matter how long it takes) and the
complimentary gifts all new trust portfolio clients receive
most likely will not be part of a lawyer prepared trust
portfolio. The value of having your trust consultant
help you, step by step, and assist you in funding your trust, must be considered
in your total costs.
Without proper funding help, your trust will most likely go
through probate, no matter how much you pay for it!
Any trust we
create for you, provides modern provisions for foreign
travel or residency issues. And national travel or residency
issues (2nd homes). I also address the common
situation of having financial records on a computer hard
drive and authorize the spousal Trustee and subsequent
Successor Trustee to use modern electronic means to
administer the estate. Recent talk about handling
Facebook or Twitter type accounts after death is also
covered in our newest edition!
portfolio of documents includes new Arizona Trust Code (ATC),
HIPPA release (health information and privacy act)
provisions, and follow all Arizona statutes where applicable
in the individual documents making up the complete
portfolio. And new federal 2013 estate tax provisions are
carefully drafted in all new or update trusts my firm
creates and delivers, for maximum protection against the
federal estate tax due upon death for larger estates. Medicaid planning options for smaller estates
is also covered.
If you are price
shopping, be sure to compare
"like kind" or you heirs may be disappointed in
any bargain plan you put in force. You could also pay a
fortune for a trust from a popular firm - yet not get your
money's worth. I see trusts fail every month in my
consulting work right along with their IRA getting hit with
bad options all because the wrong advisors were trusted and
failed to deliver what they promised.
Growing up in Iowa, I found out many years ago
that most cheap things are not good and that most good
things are not cheap. As you shop, knowing you may
look at "price" alone as your gauge, I want to give you the
proper high standards my product is under, compared to
competitors -- so you can compare fairly.
(National and local Arizona
clients who have lost a loved one find large IRA accounts
must pay the trust as beneficiary, which often is outdated and almost
always, does not contain proper IRS rules language to handle
the funds properly)
Believe me, I have seen in my practice when people die --
what was cheap in the way of estate planning documents on
this end of life
can become the most expensive on the other end.
It is like a double slap in the face of the heirs, when that happens.
Years of Practice Shows in the "Legacy Trust" Custom Trust
Strategies, Inc. celebrated it's 25th corporate year doing
business in Arizona in 2015! (July 4th!!!), I am proud to
have delivered hundreds of trust portfolios to Arizona
consumers. All without one complaint ever!
In fact, no professional complaints in multiple states of
practice have ever been filed in my multiple financial
occupations or practice for all 40+ years of total practice!
HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT AS YOU NOW
SEARCH FOR THE RIGHT FIRM TO DRAFT YOUR NEW TRUST
DOCUMENTS? OR TO UPDATE A CURRENT TRUST? OR TO
HELP SETTLE A TRUST NOW OR IN THE FUTURE?
Disclaimer: The information
contained on this site, though deemed reliable and accurate, is solely
the opinion and statements of the advisor profiled. Therefore, it should
be considered "general" in nature and no action should be taken based on
this information until such time your specific situation and
circumstances can be reviewed and analyzed by competent and qualified
tax, insurance, legal, and/or other financial advisors. This information
is not intended, nor should be construed as legal advice. FSI can not
and will not give you legal advice. If you need legal advice, we can
refer you if you desire and request it. Founded in 1990, FSI is a
long-term Financial Advisory and Arizona domiciled Corporation now
providing services nationwide and in some foreign countries. Services
profiled herein are available unrestricted to Arizona residents.
Residents outside of Arizona are eligible for certain consulting
services and to legal (lawyer) referrals by our firm when requested of
us. For Arizona residents, communication with an Arizona Certified Legal
Document Preparer (AZCLDP) are private and confidential but are not
"privileged", such as they would be with an actual Lawyer.
Besides being a licensed Arizona Certified Legal
Document Preparer, Mr. Anderson is also an Arizona
Professional Accountant/Consultant and registered IRS tax
preparer and ERO (Electronic Return Originator) agent/firm.
He also is an Arizona licensed Professional
(Realtor®)/consultant (with Realty One Group) and a licensed Professional insurance
agent and corporation for life, health or annuity sales.
Lastly, he and his firm is an appointed representative for
Royal Metals Group as a Professional Precious Metals
consultant and sales advisor.
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