Preventing Financial Exploitation of Seniors
Older persons control more than 70 percent of U.S. disposable income. Many also have sizeable retirement savings. As a result, older Americans are targets for insurance agents, financial advisors and investment planners with products to sell. Many of those products, particularly ones like annuities and life insurance, generate large sales commissions are largely inappropriate or unsuitable for seniors. When an agent, broker or advisors financially exploits a senior customer, their acts constitute financial elder abuse. The consequences can be devastating for the senior. Some $2.9 billion is taken from older Americans every year, with victims numbering in the millions.
The Alameda County financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent victims of financial elder abuse whether at the hands of brokers, retirement planners financial advisors, or insurance agents selling inappropriate products like annuities or life insurance for a commission or at the hands of caregivers, trustees or persons acting under a Power of Attorney. If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Alameda County or elsewhere in California, call our financial elder abuse lawyers today at (415)441-8669.
The first step in preventing financial elder abuse is awareness. While bankers, accountants and trustworthy financial advisors should be spotting abuse when it occurs, you cannot rely on those persons to protect your senior loved one. You need to stay alert and involved to prevent elder financial abuse. Here are some questions you should ask your senior loved one regularly:
- Has a salesperson, such as an insurance agent or reverse mortgage broker, approached him or her recently? Agents and brokers target seniors with commission-generating products, like annuities, insurance and reverse mortgages. Has he or she been invited to any “free lunch” seminars? If so, warn them not to go! Those are traps for hard sells.
- Has a caregiver come into their life who’s helping with bills and finances? This is a serious red flag. Do not allow caregivers access to any financial information or cards, checks or cash. If your loved one needs help paying bills/writing checks, get a professional fiduciary. A caregiver’s responsibility should be strictly limited to care and never extend to finances, money or important legal documents.Never ever grant a power of Attorney to a caregiver
- Does your loved one need help with investment decisions? Offer to help. The senior may be reluctant or embarrassed to ask for help even though they realize their ability to handle financial matters on their own is slipping.
- Are bills being paid on time? Look around the house for unpaid bills. They may be piling up.
- Has anyone approached the senior about managing his or her money? Financial advisors, “wealth management specialists” and “planners” target older persons. Many of these persons are looking to sell products on which they will earn big commissions. While professional help may be needed, use caution. Look for fee-based financial advisors and avoid any that earn commissions on sales to the senior.
- Are there financial safeguards like Powers of Attorney or Living Trusts in place? Safeguards are really useful but only work if the appointed attorney-in-fact or trustee is a trusted, competent, responsible individual. Again, never give a Power of Attorney to a caregiver.
Respond quickly if you suspect financial elder abuse of a loved one or friend. Qualified financial elder abuse lawyers, such as the Alameda County elder abuse lawyers at Evans Law Firm, will pursue all remedies available to seniors in California including restitution (getting your money back), rescission (undoing an invalid contract), punitive damages, and recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in bringing a financial elder abuse action.
If you or someone you love is the victim of financial elder abuse by an insurance agent, income or retirement planner broker, financial advisor, caregiver or other party, call Ingrid M. Evans and the other Alameda County financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. Our attorneys have experience with securities, annuity, and other investment fraud, financial elder abuse cases and complex qui tam or whistleblower cases including offshore tax avoidance cases, complex financial contract cases and cases against large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We also handle cases involving physical elder abuse, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.
Insurance agents and financial advisors eager to sell commission-generating products may financially exploit seniors. In particular, annuities and life insurance produce large sales commissions for insurance agents and brokers but are often inappropriate or unsuitable products for consumers, especially seniors. Leading providers and distributors of life insurance and fixed, variable and fixed indexed deferred annuities in California are listed below. We are not in any way suggesting that any of these carriers or distributors has done anything wrong or acted in an exploitative manner. Rather, the list is provided solely as a reference for our readers.
AIG/American General Life Insurance Company
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company
American General Life Insurance Company/AIG
American National Life Insurance Company
Ameriprise Financial/RiverSource Life Insurance Company
Ameriprise Financial/Securities America, Inc.
Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company
Athene Annuity and Life Company
Aviva Life Insurance Company
AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company/AXA US
Bankers Life Insurance and Casualty Company
Berkshire Hathaway Group
Berkshire Hathaway Life Insurance Company of Nebraska
Brighthouse Financial, Inc./MetLife
Citigroup Global Markets, Inc.
Crump Life Insurance Services, Inc.
CUNA Mutual Group/CMFG Life Insurance Company
Delaware Life Insurance Company
EquiTrust Life Insurance Company
Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company
Forethought Life Insurance Company/Global Atlantic Financial Group
Genworth Financial, Inc.
Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company
Genworth Life Insurance Company
Global Atlantic Financial Group/Forethought Life Insurance Company
Guardian Life Insurance Company
Guggenheim Partners/Security Benefit Life Insurance Company
ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company
Jackson National Life Insurance Company
John Hancock Life Insurance Company
Lincoln Benefit Life Company
Lincoln Financial Group
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc.
Metlife/Metropolitan Life Insurance Company/Brighthouse Financial, Inc.
Minnesota Life Insurance Company
National Life Group
National Life Insurance Company/Equity Services, Inc.
National Western Life Insurance Company
Nationwide Life Insurance Company
New York Life Insurance Company
North American Company for Life and Health Insurance
Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company
Oxford Life Insurance Company
Pacific Life Insurance Company
Principal Financial Group
Prudential Life Insurance Company
Raymond James Insurance Group
Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company/Tokio Marine Group
RiverSource Life Insurance Company/Ameriprise Financial
Securities America, Inc./Ameriprise Financial
Security Benefit Group, Inc.
Security Benefit Life Insurance Company/Guggenheim Partners
Security Investors, LLC
The Standard Life Insurance Company
Symetra Financial Corporation
Symetra Life Insurance Company
Transamerica Life Insurance Company
Unum Life Insurance Company of America
USAA Life Insurance Company
Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company
Wells Fargo Advisors
Western & Southern Financial Group
The Western & Southern Life Insurance Company
World Financial Group Insurance Agency, Inc.