We first published this blog in May of 2011. The information is as valuable today as it was then.
We work with many qualified financial planners to assistclients with comprehensive estate and financial planning. But we donâ€™t workwith everyone, and sometimes we see unscrupulous sales methods employed thattake advantage of trusting clients, particularly the elderly. Just such a caseis brewing now in Indiana, where an insurance brokerage was disciplined for theunauthorized practice of law â€“ and is now the defendant in a class-actionlawsuit.
According to insurancenewsnet.com,the insurance brokerage used estate planning as the hook for a lucrativebusiness selling other insurance products, including annuities. Sadly, this isnot an unfamiliar tale. Apparently, some clients not only purchasedinappropriate estate plans, but paid huge tax penalties after they cashed invaluable stocks to buy the firmâ€™s annuities.
The estate planning packages were sold using what theIndiana Supreme Court called â€œan entirelyone-sided ad delivered in such a way so as to likely alarm the customer.â€
Here are five tips to help you (or a loved one) avoidfalling victim to similar scams:
- Donâ€™t LetAnyone Rush You. One of the ways scammers get their victims is by rushingthem into making decisions.
- Donâ€™t LetAnyone Scare You. Scare tactics are common among scammers. If the productor service is valid, it wonâ€™t have to be sold with screaming headlines or scaretactics.
- BeSuspicious of Anyone Who Pressures You to Sell Your Investments to Buy Theirs. Itmight be a good idea, but check with an objective third-party professionalbefore making the move â€“ such as your CPA or attorney.
- CheckReferences. Before buying any kind of financial product, check thereferences of both the agent and the company behind him. Check with yourfriends, family and business acquaintances, as well as with professionals youknow and trust, such as your CPA or attorney.
- ConsultTrusted, Objective Advisors. Anyone can be fooled, and thereâ€™s no shame to beingfooled by an expert scammer. Before you sign on the dotted line, take the timeto consult a trusted â€“ and objective â€“ advisor. The opinion of a qualified,disinterested third party who has nothing to gain or lose by the transactioncould be your best protection.
If you or a loved one find you have fallen victim to a scamget professional help immediately. Comprehensive estate planning can also helpto avoid future losses. If you want to protect you and your family as well asmaintain control as long as possible we here at Idaho Estate Planning can help.Remember, good planning is no accident.