When an estate goes through probate, privacy is out the door worse than Beyonce taking a stroll down Rodeo Drive. In this outtake from the webinar “Estate Planning… Bigger Than Beyonce” I review the loss of privacy that occurs to an estate mired in this court process.
My name, account values, beneficiary contact information, and a whole bunch of other things are public through the probate process. It is a court process and is open for anyone to actually get that information. It is all put on to an inventory and they are filed with the court. It is now a public filing and anyone can get that information.
When that information gets out there in the public through these court filings, it’s amazing how much of it is out there. It’s marketers that are often going through those probate files, they are putting together their marketing list.
A client called me on a Friday afternoon. He said his dad died in Michigan four months prior and he wanted to know if that had anything to do with the fact that he was getting a bunch of brochures from Mercedes and BMW. I told him yes! They saw that probate filing and saw you’re going to be getting a ton of money and they want to help you spend it!
And then there are scam artists. It’s not uncommon for a family of three or four kids to live in different parts of the country these days. And so, if one of them isn’t in the town the parents lived in, it is very easy for let’s say a scammer to see someone has passed on and obtain the names and addresses of the kids, none being local. So say the scammers just submit a plumbing bill or a roof repair bill for $5000 to the estate. Yep, it’s a scam but many times that bill gets paid.
Hear more about the lack of privacy in probate HERE.