by John Darer® CLU ChFC MSSC RSP CLTC
I think what John Curran is trying to say is that busy Mass Tort plaintiff lawyers should be referring their clients to settlement planning experts and that by doing so, it may be more efficient, lead to better decisions by their clients, improved client satisfaction and ultimately, more referrals to the lawyers.
John Curran is a "Hardy Boy", a staff writer for Top Mass Torts, one of J. Scott Hardy's internet properties established July 13, 2012. His November 19, 2012 mis-titled post " Structured Settlements A Risk For Mass Tort Lawyers (sic) Clients" at www.topmasstorts(dot) com is replete within inexplicable errors.
A. "For many people the amount of the jury award or specialist settlement can be larger than what they're (sic) expected lifetime income would have been"
- Define "specialist settlement" in the context of mass tort or personal injury?
- If the number is greater than the the expected lifetime income it means that the mass tort lawyers have done a great job in securing a recovery for their clients.
B. "However both plaintiffs' and defendants' legal teams often take advantage of settlement brokers who may not have the best interests of mass tort lawsuit lawyers' plaintiffs in mind".
- Rather cynical, isn't it? Who is taking advantage of whom?
C. "One option is to consult with planners such as those with the Society of Settlement Planners or those that simply do not work on commission".
- If there is a structured settlement being placed there is a commission being paid by the annuity issuer or treasury funded structured settlement provider. Other financial products or services may have fees associated with them. This should be disclosed.
- With all due respect to the SSP, whether or not "planners" are "with the Society of Settlement Planners" is irrelevant with respect to this point. What is important, in my opinion, is the knowledge and credentials of the settlement planner.
D. "The decision about what to do with this money then, means that lawyers and mass tort attorneys may want to step aside".
Some lawyers may indeed be busy. Others may wish to limit the scope of the advice they provide beyond their specialty. I think the point is that a lawyer should ( and many of them do) recognize the importance of proper planning for their clients and the need to bring in expertise that can help their clients.
E. "It's important to consider whether not mass tort lawsuit attorneys should recommend the plaintiffs hire a financial adviser to monitor these structured settlement options. For example, while it may represent an added cost it could limit any potential backlash against the law office while also providing a plaintiff the ability to guarantee their financial security".
- In a settlement planning context, financial advisers provide advice and solutions. They do not guarantee financial security for a commission for a $1,500 fee. The guarantees are provided by the institutions behind the solutions.
- A skilled financial adviser, settlement planner, financial planner, insurance agent, broker...etc., with the proper credentials and intangibles from years of practical experience, is helpful in explaining the process, discovering your needs through a skilled line of questioning, helping you understand your exposures and the potential consequences of leaving the risk exposed, making recommendations, answering your questions, implementing recommendations
- Often services are provided by a team of specialists as part of a community of practice.