by Structured Settlement Watchdog
How did a California judge see fit to approve a structured settlement transfer as being in the best interest of a young California man, with an 8th grade education who has never worked, can barely read, who had documented mental issues, who had been institutionalized several times prior to the transfer petition (and after, as an aside), who at one time needed a conservator, suffered from schizophrenia, psychosis,hallucinations, whose structured settlement was his sole source of support other than SSI. Would you believe California judges approved two separate structured settlement transfers, which leave this man with only SSI to live on for the next 7 years?
The convenient online image repository that is characteristic of many Califionia county court systems was as helpful to me as it is for those settlement purchasers who scrape it for leads The seller says he appeared in court on only one of two occasions and that he was coached by the lawyer for the settlement purchaser about what to say.
Is it adequate to simply opine having read a check off box that a person has waived the right to independent professional advice, when a person does not know what independent professional advice means?
Both transactions were initiated by members of the National Association of Settlement Purchasers (NASP), just like the case in Florida. More importantly something that asks serious questions of the adequacy of the judicial scrutiny applied in determining "best interest" is that all the transactions were approved by the courts despite mental capacity issues that were obvious to me within 5 minute of a 30 minute phone call. Another happenstance was that the sellers in both the Florida and California cases had Allstate Life Insurance Company structured settlements. All Allstate structured settlement annuitants are entitled by contract to use Allstate's Advanced Funding Exchange Notice (AFEN), which judging by the rate cited by the buyers in the transfer petitions might have resulted in a better discount rate to the seller. Setting aside the best interest discussion for a moment ,it appears that no effort was made to even advise any of these annuitants of their right to the benefit.
Instead of trying to gag me as a non-party as a bargaining chip, as the counsel for a NASP member settlement purchaser attempted unsuccessfully to do in the Florida case, perhaps NASP and its members can look within and see what is bubbling to the surface from people across the country. It's not pretty. Perhaps lucky for the settlement purchasers involved in these California transactions, the transactions in California were done several years ago compared to the one in Florida that was very recent.
I believe that there needs to be more judicial education,. Judges need to know the real life consequences to their "wards" of failing to perform, even if years later. Unless they are made aware how is it going to change? How do they improve upon the job they are doing? At the same time settlement purchasers need to stifle opportunistic business practices which put individuals with mentally related cognitive issues in harm's way.