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Elderly lose money in estate administration fraud scheme

A horrible story of predatory and criminal behavior is wrapping up in Southern New Jersey, and it has nothing to do with physical violence. This story stems from the actions of a handful of unscrupulous individuals who targeted and stole millions of dollars from many elderly people who trusted the guilty parties with their estate planning and administration needs.

Individuals who signed up for an in-home care service were offered estate planning services from the caregiver and her associates. Rather than providing the individuals with the protections they needed to preserve their estates for their loved ones, they tapped funds off of many accounts, enriching themselves at the expense of individuals who trusted them to provide economic and legal advice. Thankfully, sentencing has started for some of these criminals and one woman will spend a decade in jail for her actions.

While this story may scare some individuals who are considering seeking out estate administration assistance, it is an important reminder that not everyone who offers support in preparing wills, powers of attorney and other estate planning devices is honest. Readers of this estate planning law blog are encouraged to seek out reputable professionals for these and other estate planning services and to ensure that their representatives' credentials are legitimate.

A properly planned and administered estate can set a person's wealth and property up for an easy transition after his or her death. However, problems and even criminal issues can arise when a person becomes the victim of an estate-based threat. Having trusted friends, family members and legal professionals involved during the preparation of a personal estate plan can help individuals feel confident in the success of their actions.

Source: nj.com, "N.J. woman who 'coldly exploited' elderly to steal millions gets prison," Bill Gallo Jr., March 4, 2016

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