Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 30, 2007 / 15 Meanachem-Av, 5767

Be wary of ‘trust’ scams

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: My parents have been secretive about their finances ever since I can remember. As they aged (they are now in their late 70s), I would ask about powers of attorney, because of my concern about handling matters for them if they became unable to do so. They would tell my husband and me (I am an only child) that everything was under control and, could they not handle their affairs, I would find everything in order.


My father has suffered a debilitating stroke from which he will not recover, and my mother broke her hip. I finally got a key to their home from her purse, and after hours of searching, my husband and I found their "everything is under control" package: a notebook containing a couple hundred pages of trust documents and instructions, some signature pages having not been signed or witnessed; and a number of deferred annuity statements and bank statements. No powers of attorney or wills. I called the banks and annuity companies, all of which refused to talk to me. I called the "trust network" responsible for this mess, and they hung up on me.


I have now been to a lawyer who tells me that I will basically have to sue my parents to gain court-appointed conservatorship and guardianship over both of them. In this way, he says, we can get to the bottom of this awful mess. I blame myself for not being more aggressive with my folks. They trusted the word of strangers who took advantage of them as opposed to trusting their only child. I hope you will print this so your readers will understand that seniors are indeed targets for abuse.


A: We think you should make another call: to the attorney general of your parents' state of residence to report this obvious exploitation by con artists.


Using the ploy of "helping" seniors with estate-planning documents that will allegedly save taxes and avoid expensive probate (despite the fact that more than 98 percent of those who die each year will not have taxable estates), these con artists first create trust relationships, learn about the seniors' assets and income, and then take advantage of the trust relationship by using the financial information they gain to sell annuities that most seniors don't need.


Some of these purveyors of deception invite seniors to their free seminars by direct mail, newspaper ads or telephone solicitation. Others even come to the senior's home to give free consults about creating or changing current living trusts. Even though they are not lawyers, these folks provide legal advice on estate planning but do not make disclosures to the intended victims that their goal is to sell an insurance or annuity product. If they did, your folks would have never let them through the door.


After creating the documents, they go back and convince the victims to move a large portion of their liquid assets into deferred annuities, generally with the sales pitch that they will make more interest and can't lose any money. The sales pitch does not inform the victims about the disadvantages of annuities, especially for seniors, including maturity issues, limitations on withdrawals and substantial penalties for early liquidation.


To cause even more harm, the trusts are never funded — that is, the real estate and bank accounts are not transferred from the seniors to themselves as trustees, meaning that there is no vehicle to allow management of the financial assets. On death, there will definitely be a probate, the precise process your folks were told they would avoid. And since the seniors think they have it all covered, it is difficult to convince them that they need powers of attorney and wills.


Taking the NextStep: Trust mills are not the only culprits. Banks that switch seniors into deferred annuities when their certificates of deposit are coming due are close behind. The cost of the proceeding that is now necessary because of bad planning and fraud, plus what it will probably cost to get this mess resolved, will be significant. Why your folks, like many others, choose to trust strangers rather than family members is beyond us, but with good planning in advance by qualified lawyers, these issues can be avoided.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.

Archives

© 2007, Jan Warner

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles