by Brian Mahany
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners issued an alert yesterday to the nations veterans. There are approximately 16 million veterans who served during the time period between World War II and the Vietnam War. Many of these veterans are retired or quickly nearing retirement age. For many, long term care and estate planning are foremost on their minds. The NAIC issued a consumer alert yesterday after a study by the General Accounting Office found many financial planners, insurance agents and even lawyers pitching unsuitable retirement strategies and products to veterans.
Crimes against the elderly are nothing new. For that reason, the Veterans Administration offers to accredit financial planners and lawyers who have the training to assist veterans complete the paperwork needed to receive VA pension benefits. Some of these folks are also pitching annuities and insurance to these same veterans. While not illegal, the products they sell are not VA accredited. More importantly, the GAO found that many of the products are unsuitable.
Often we hear about older Americans who purchase deferred annuities. Because deferred annuities do not offer a payout until some years in the future, they are particularly unsuited for older Americans. Think about it – selling a deferred annuity that begins making payments in 20 years isn’t very practical fro someone already in their 70’s!
The GAO found that many lawyers and financial professionals were using their VA accreditation to truly help veterans plan their financial future. Some were using their credentials, however, to gain access to nursing homes and sell inappropriate products. Some veterans mistakenly thought that because the person selling the product was VA accredited that the products offered were also VA approved.
As we age, some folks develop degenerative mental states. Taking advantage of the elderly, whether veterans or not, is a particularly despicable act in our opinion. We can’t think of many things worse than going into nursing homes and scamming the elderly. Unfortunately, we se and hear stories like this everyday. As many baby boomers are now retiring, these stories will only get worse unless families and regulators pull together.
If you believe you have been scammed by an insurance agent, financial planner or lawyer, speak up. The same advice holds true if you believe that a loved one has been sold bad investments. Financial planners and lawyers can be held responsible for their misdeeds and often the companies whose products they sell can also be held accountable.
Most cases of veterans fraud or elder abuse can be handled on a contingent fee basis meaning no legal fees are owed to us unless we collect for you. For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (direct). All inquires are protected by the attorney -client privilege and kept in strict confidence.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Services available in many jurisdictions.