One of my pet peeves is when Michigan seniors are targeted with inappropriate investments–typically annuities and annuity scam schemes. In other words, financial elder abuse. I see it a bunch on the VA benefits side when a family is trying to help a veteran or surviving spouse qualify for the VA Benefit. There are a ton of organizations that say they will help the veteran for free, but then sell them a high commission, hard to surrender annuity that makes no sense financial for anyone….other than the insurance broker who gets to pocket the 8-12% commission.
I had a client come into my office just in the nick of time, where they were going to move almost a million dollars into one of these ill suited annuities for his elderly father. The annuity huckster, said that this was the only way dad would get VA benefits and that he had to buy the annuity. That’s a load of bunk.
I had another client this year who had to pay $18,000 in surrender charges to get out of of one of these types of annuities because he need to pay for nursing home care for his wife. Again, a Michigan senior sold an inappropriate product by an insurance broker.
Where to Get VA Benefits Information?
The devious part is that often, these insurance peddlers pass them self off as being VA Benefits experts or even worse, they pretend they are associated with the VA. Many times they will have a VA logo on their card. This confused not only seniors, but also assisted living communities and independent living communities.
My recommendation is to find a VA Accredited Certified Elder Law Attorney to review any VA Benefits questions that you may have. A VA Accredited Certified Elder Law Attorney owes you a duty to act in your best interest, versus an insurance broker, who is really just a salesman of insurance products.
Investment Scams Targeting Metro-Detroit
What started this blog post was an article I read in the Wall Street Journal talking about insurance brokers and investment advisors targeting seniors with inappropriate investment products. Read more in the WSJ.com article here. The article talks about the desperation some brokers go through and how they put their ethics and business on the line to lure seniors.
Fighting Back Against Financial Elder Abuse
Take a look at the article, let me know your thoughts. If you’re a senior or have a senior loved one who has been taken advantage by a desperate broker (this could be construed as financial elder abuse), contact our office and we may be able to assist you.
Our office has engaged in education against financial elder abuse, where every year we help organize Michigan state wide initiative to provide education across all the senior centers in Michigan warning seniors and their families against this type of practice by desperate brokers and insurance salesman.