Living Trust Mills

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These are scams where unscrupulous sales people try to convince you that in order to avoid probate you should set up a living trust. They start with ‘free seminars’ but then proceed to visit you at home to gather information and eventually have you sign papers. They often state that they are ‘estate planners’, ‘financial consultants’, and so forth. They make money by insisting on you moving your savings or investments into their relatively undesirable financial products (often annuities), for which they earn commissions, misleading you to think that this is how a living trust is being set up. The State of California Department of Justice has issued a Living Trust Mill warning.

Sometimes the Trust Mill organizers will hire an attorney to give the operation an air of legitimacy. However, unless the attorney can meet personally with the client, and obtain the necessary consent under Cal Rules of Prof Cond 1.7, the attorney is in violation of the ethics rules.

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