The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has just released a YouTube Public Service Announcement regarding annuities – complex insurance investments that are often misunderstood and aggressively marketed to seniors.
In this 5-minute video, Assistant DA Scott Tsui, Deputy DA Janet Berry, and DA Jeff Rosen warn seniors about the financial perils that can result from annuities. Often, “free financial planning seminars” are targeted towards seniors but in the end, the old adage holds true – there’s no such thing as a free lunch. In fact, Tsui cautions that “annuities are not necessarily safe, not necessarily smart, and they are never free.”
Berry reminds us that the insurance agents who sell annuities have no duty to ensure that the process is the smartest idea for the folks who purchase them. In fact, if the insurance company goes out of business, you’ll lose all the money you’ve invested with them. Because of the risks involved, Berry offers the following list of details to be mindful of when considering purchasing annuities:
- Make sure the insurance broker is licensed.
- Do not sign documents at the presentation.
- Do not leave your documents behind.
- Talk to someone you trust – perhaps an insurance agent you already have, or someone else who can give you an unbiased opinion.
- Even if you’ve already signed the agreement, you have 30 days to walk away. If you have any misgivings, exercise this right.
Ultimately, the DA’s Office warns seniors to be vigilant and pay attention to the red flags associated with annuities – after all, you’ve worked hard for your savings and the decision to invest that hard-earned money ought to be informed decisions.
If you have any questions regarding your retirement investments, are interested in developing an estate plan, or are interested in reviewing your current estate plan, please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri for further information. The attorneys at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri have decades of experience handling complex estate planning matters and are more than happy to meet with you for a free, 30-minute consultation.
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