How can we help Mom? She has no access to her money without a penalty .

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She has dementia and was talked into buying an annuity at aged 90. Mom now lives safely in a Memory Care facility, however, a year ago she was still insisting on living in her home with no outside assistance. Her dementia has progressed over the past 4 years or so, from forgetfulness and mean spiritedness to loss of her executive functionability and serious safety concerns. Mom has historically accused all of us of stealing her knic-knacks, clothes, dish pans, silly stuff. Big stuff, not so much. Complete strangers have been really robbing her through unsavory schemes and she sees nothing wrong. With us, old lamp shades that have virtually disintegrated with age, Mom has accused us of sneaking into her home and shredding while she slept. She has seen helicopters flying overhead, reportedly sprinkling pine needles onto her yard. Neighbors digging up her bushes in the middle of the night. She has had a difficult time, worst of all has made many poor financial decisions along the way. Until recently, though, she has kept her affairs close to the vest and has refused our help and intervention. As her dementia progressed, we have been able to step in and reverse most of her poor money decisions and have her ill spent money returned to her. Unfortunately though, last November, she was solicited by an insurance salesman to partially surrender an annuity she had purchased in 2011 to secure herself into another annuity that promised a 1% better interest rate for the first year she had it. She is unable to cash out until she turns 101. The original annuity held most all of her available funds, but its balance was significant enough that after four years she would have had liquid funds available from interest earned that would have enabled her to live comfortably, to transition into assisted living. Also, it was around that time, end of year, 2015 that Mom's dementia had progressed to the point that she did not even remember having made this transaction. It was not until a few months later that she called my husband, her son, and told him she was missing a large sum of money. We lived 200 miles away from her at the time (she is since relocated to within 10 miles of our home) and started making inquiries and went to her home to see what we could find. My husband called Mom's bank, and they were able to confirm the deposit and subsequent check that Mom wrote to the new insurance company for the new annuity. Mom had no recollection of this event. When we explained what had happened to her, she acted as though nothing had happened, and that if it really had, that it was no big deal. We found the annuity contracts, scoured them for ways to help her get out from under either one of both of them, only to learn she did not sign a waiver that would entitle her to be released from the annuities should she need the funds for care. She opened her books to us to review and we learned she was making late payments on credit card purchases for unnecessary, ridiculous items and writing checks willy nilly to every Tom Dick or Harry who asked her for a contribution. Her check book made no sense, and was filled with scrawl and scribble, it was clear she had lost her ability to handle this part of her life. It was at that time that she did acknowledge she should no longer be handling her finances and agreed to have us start paying her bills. We had her mail forwarded to our home and gained access to her checking accounts (My husband is DPOA, thank God). We also got her to agree to home health care, figuring their presence would afford her some protection and provide care that she needed. We made the mistake, though, of leaving her with checks and a credit card at the time, figuring that since we were receiving her mail and handling her money, we could put a stop to any shenanigans. We were wrong. She got scammed by a home repair person (who has been caught and is facing felony charges but has no money to pay Mom back) about a month later. Fortunately, the home health aide alerted us to this occurrence, or he would probably have not been caught. After this ordeal, we explained to Mom that too many bad people prayed on vulnerable like herself. She agreed that it was time to move closer to us in a protected community. We now have her safe, but she has funds locked up in these annuities and needs that money to help pay for her care. She is in a pickle. We contacted the state insurance commission for assistance with getting her investment money back, but they saw nothing wrong with the annuity being sold to Mom. In reviewing the sales papers, Mom did not complete the financial statement, that it was actually completed by the agent. The only writing on the application in Mom's hand, is her signature. She truly had no idea what she was purchasing. She thinks an annuity is just an account that she can take her money from whenever she wants or needs it! She needs it now, but it is trapped. We do not know if we should take the penalty (which is approximately 18% of the value) to free up funds, or what. Help.

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Thank you everyone. Your posts have been both insightful and informative. I have already started to act by reaching out to change.org and the action news team at Mom's former local TV station. We'll see where this goes.
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Also you can contact your attorney general, send a letter on legal letterhead or copied to your law firm, FCPA as noted above- hope you can nail their sorry asses AND get mom's money back.

Get incapacity letters from one or two physicians, whatever is required by the language in your POA and/or rules of your state (this is also needed to fully "activate" the POA so you can do more with it beyond routine small transactions that people do not bother to question) ideally documenting she was incapacitated at the time she signed that if someone it willing to do that for you.
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Send, thought there was an "uh oh" moment, so I reread my last post re BOA and crowd instituted change. No question that BOA's action was insulting, but what I meant to write was that BOA had decided to add a charge for some service of another, something that was very petty. So I guess instituting is right, but it was also insulting!

Am I redeemed?
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GA, did you mean to say "insulting" instead of "instituting".
What you said in your post was enlightening, thanks!
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A few years ago my then 90 yo FIL was talked into an annuity by his BANK. They knew how much he had and they probably saw that he was doddering. The clerk who sold it to him got a commission. When my FIL got a notice about the transaction in the mail, he didn't know what it was for. That was one of the first signs we had of his dementia. He showed the mail to my husband, his son. "You put your money into an annuity." "No I didn't!" Well, he had.

Fortunately, my husband is an attorney. He went right to the bank and told them his father was a vulnerable senior and he would litigate if they didn't reverse it. They reversed it.

Sometimes the threat is enough. An attorney might get it done if you can't get anywhere. So sorry to hear you and your mother are being put through this!
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Just thought of something that from what I've read has produced miraculous results and responses from thousands of people. change.org.

I recall when a BOA customer complained about a charge or some change BOA was instituting. Thousands of people responded to support her, BOA got very negative publicity, and rescinded the proposal.

Maybe a "boycott xyz agency - find another agent and underwriter" campaign might just work. But use the words "elder abuse by insurance agent" or something similar in your title.

And affirming my earlier comment, I definitely see this as a predatory agent and underwriter.
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Yes, same thing happened to my father....sold an annuity at age 89 1/2. Would not start paying until age 100. Need funds for skilled nursing facility. I sent in my power of attorney information, informed them that in my state selling a financial product to people 90 years old is illegal. I got lucky.....they sent a check the next week. Do you or your mother have an attorney? I would consult with them.

Also check to see what she has done with her life insurance policy if applicable. The same scum that sold the annuity also converted his paid up life ins. policy to one that "canibalized" itself if not cashed out at age 90. Nobody knew, he did not remember.....so totally lost that investment......everybody read the fine details of those policies!!! I am sorry you have such a mess, my best to you!
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Yep, same thing happened to my dad when he was first getting ill - he was about 84 when the scum-sucking leech sold my dad an annuity. My father had no recollection of the transaction and in reviewing the paperwork there were many places where he had made an error, it's crossed out, re-written in the leeches writting and then dads shakey initials. Clearly - any agent with a conscious would have recognized my father was too ill to be entering into a contract. Fortunately I was able to cash it out with the help of my own financial planner - dad broke even. My guy explained that these unscrupulous leeches often are presented with a fund at work and given a quota or get the axe. What a way to do business, huh? My planner also wrote a formal complaint on my fathers behalf to the state agency that over-sees this stuff - can't recall right now who that was. I'd follow the steps given by GA and Windy - good advice. And me being me, I think I would also contact the local tv news station that does a "watch-dog, on your side" segment and get them interested in the situation. I would also contact the company that employs the leech and inform them of my intentions to do so.
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All salient points and suggestions, I thank you. I will absolutely follow up with the Federal Consumer Protection Agency. The company was contacted, and stands behind their agent. I am encouraged to read that you feel this is an elder abuse situation, as my gut has been saying this to me, but I was fearful that I wasn't accurate in my allegation. We moved Mom out of state, from Pennsylvania to New York (not NYC, rather a rural part of this fair state)... I wonder, since these situations occurred in PA, would I contact the Elder Law agency there, or would I be better suited speaking with a representative from here in NY? I have fantasized about contacting a news agency, thinking to myself what a story this would make... perhaps it is not so far fetched and idea... it seems disgraceful that an agent can pray on any elder, let alone one who was 90 at the time with obvious dementia brewing. Perhaps public humiliation would help others from getting caught up in fattening the purse of an unscrupulous agent. I have a lot to do. We are still caught up in the packing up of Mom's home in preparation for it's sale. Although the realization of funds won't come til her house is sold and settled on, we are grateful at least she has one to sell, to free up those funds for her use. I am becoming adept at juggling these monumental issues. It would do my heart good to sic reporters and/or an elder attorney on this insurance matter. I am heartened to read I am not alone in my thought that something very wrong did happen here. Regarding the tradesman, a hearing is scheduled and my husband and I both will be there to testify. We may not see her cash returned for that one, but at least we can put a stop to the individual who took it from taking it from someone else. Thank you again.
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I had a similar situation with my Dad whose dementia started about 6 years ago and has been ever so slowly progressing. He was sold a batch of annuities by an agent of bankers life. My siblings both passed away during this period leaving me to deal with aging parents.

As I got involved I soon realized That Dad was developing dementia and had made a mess of their finances, opening accounts, moving papers in and out of a safe deposit box, and buying these annuities. It's clear to me that any agent would have realized Dad was not capable of financial decisions within 5 minutes.

I spent months finding and securing accounts, got a POA and took over the finances. I tracked down the agent who avoided me and would not respond to information requests. He's since been fired or moved on, I'm not sure which.

I'm 600 miles away and I was finally able to get some clarification on the annuities from the agency in my area. But these guys also tried to sell me more complex annuities, long term care etc. Really?

Fortunately most of these annuities have matured now and I can withdraw them without penalty. I would have a penalty on some of the funds but I would take the hit if I needed the money for eldercare, which in our case, is going to be pretty soon.

My gut reaction to your situation is first to raise hell with the folks that tricked your mom into buying these policies. Track down the agent confront him. Go to his superiors. Demand that he/she be fired. Threaten legal action and tell them you are prepared to talk to the press if the company does not offer some relief and adjustment.

This is large scale sleazy. If I had ever found the creep that pulled this crap on my dad bodily harm may have ensued.
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