by Structured Settlement Watchdog®
How is it that a judge in Broward County Florida, with a duty to make a determination that the sale was in a person's best interest, approved an April 2014 sale of structured settlement payment rights leaving a man set up to fail?
The 38 year old Florida man suffered a head trauma from auto/pedestrian accident and has been receiving structured settlement payments of $2,013 per month for life, with certain payments through 2027. He receives social security of $600 per month. His rent alone is $1,350 per month!
The most recent of the 7 sales that a judge has somehow determined were in person's best interest were consummated by members of the National Association of Settlement Purchasers (NASP). These repetitive sales each bore legal expenses which could be $1,000-$3,000! The unfortunate annuitant has been totally screwed by the system and is left with nothing but life contingent payments that don't start until 2027. How does he live on $600 per month?
Who is doing the math before these transactions are approved? Obviously not the judge or the members of NASP that respectfully adjudicated, engaged and/or advocated in these transactions. Maybe someone in the South Florida press corps should be pulling the court transcripts of these hearings to see what is actually occurring. It would make a good investigative story. Working Title "Lax Enforcement of Best Interest Test Leaves Florida Residents Needlessly Exposed?"
Only a handful of states require mandatory independent professional advice as part of the structured settlement transfer. In my opinion ALL states should require independent financial advice and in person court appearances. Is simply ticking off a box that a person (with head trauma or cognitive deficits) waived financial advice in the spirit of the law?
Another NASP member from Florida, and you know who you are, was able to get a Florida judge to approve a deal involving an unemployable young father, with cognitive deficits so obvious that an in-person hearing would have picked them up, to sell his structured settlement payment rights for an amount that clearly could not sustain him for the rest of his life, or his children. But for a phone call to me on December 31, 2013 the young man, who read this blog, he would have been screwed. Fortunately the court order was vacated after a lawyer was retained by the young man.