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New 2B Annuity Rant
Old 11-15-2008, 12:19 PM   #1
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New 2B Annuity Rant

I am just about ready to hire a professional hit man. The problem is I don't quite know who to direct the "hit" at.

As those that follow my periodic annuity rants know, my father opened an annuity in 1995 with the insurance money (whole life policy) from his wife/my mother. The annuity was supposed to be for his five children that would be available when the oldest reaches 59 1/2. I'm now going to share more details and see if anyone has any advice.

My sister was my father's POA and executor. He set her up with his POA shortly after my mother passed away. About the same time he wandered into WaMu and asked about "investing for his children." The obvious answer for a man who had limited financial skills was, of course, a variable annuity. The initial "investment" was $65,000.

Fast forward to 2000. My sisters discovered the annuity. Even they knew it was bad. They tried to get him out of it but the penalty was more than they were willing to lose in assets. It was 10% and the annuity had grown to $182,736. Remember that number because we will revisit it.

More upsetting to them and my father was that the annuity was only in the name of my youngest sister. When my father set it up, the investment "professional" didn't bother with all the extra trouble of putting in any of the other kids on the contract. My trusting father obviously didn't read anything.

In 2002 at the suggestion of another WaMu investment "advisor" the ownership was supposedly transferred to all 5 children. We signed a document where my sister transferred her ownership and we all rolled it over to AIG. I'm sure a commission was involved somewhere but no telling. My father died shortly thereafter.

I recommended dumping the annuity and selling out. My sisters were again against paying the cancellation fee. The figure thrown around at the time was 5%. They didn't see any reason to pay the fee when my oldest brother would be 59 1/2 in December 2008.

My youngest sister has repeatedly said that when we cash out of the annuity it has to be through her social security number and she'd have to pay the taxes. She'd then send us each our share. That seemed wrong to me since we were now all co-owners. I decided to risk her wrath and do some snooping.

I called the WaMu agent who was out last week. I did get the assistant who was very helpful. She initially looked at the change of ownership paperwork she had in her file and said it would all be done on individual SS numbers. Everything looked good and there shouldn't be any problem. She then said that she'd double check with AIG to make sure.

AIG (may they all burn in hell) says that the change of ownership paperwork is nice but they don't care. The annuity is in my sister's name only. It is all her money and, if she dies, her heirs. It also now can not be withdrawn until she is 59 1/2 without penalty. She's a good 9 years from there. The penalty per AIG is now 10%.

Just to cheer me up some more the value as of 11/12/08 is $143,604. The annuity must be in some of the worst possible mutal funds in the world or be covered up in fees (or both).

The assistant (who's not on the hit list should I move forward with that) said that in the past a tax accountant can sometimes change things by going back to the "original intent" of the person that purchased the annuity. That tells me paperwork screw ups must be pretty common. She also gave me the name and number of the AIG contact which I intend to call Monday.

I think it's time to cash out anyway and pay the fee. One sister and two brothers are on board. I've not been able to contact my yougest sister (the "owner") to see where she's at. It's obvious we really don't have any rights if she wants to hang on.

Any thoughts? Does anyone have experience with "original intent" changes to annuities?
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:35 PM   #2
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No advice, but thank you for the rant---you've convinced me to not get involved in annuities!
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:42 PM   #3
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Your younger sister's current share (indavertently hers) is 100 percent, or $143K. You and all siblings' intended share (if you can get it straightened out) is 20 percent, or $29K. Younger sister has more to lose ($113K) by allowing your father's intent to go forward.

I hope your younger sister agrees to just cash it in now, share it per your father's intent, and let all of you contribute to her tax burden as is.
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 2B View Post
In 2002 at the suggestion of another WaMu investment "advisor" the ownership was supposedly transferred to all 5 children. We signed a document where my sister transferred her ownership and we all rolled it over to AIG. I'm sure a commission was involved somewhere but no telling. My father died shortly thereafter.

I called the WaMu agent who was out last week. I did get the assistant who was very helpful. She initially looked at the change of ownership paperwork she had in her file and said it would all be done on individual SS numbers. Everything looked good and there shouldn't be any problem. She then said that she'd double check with AIG to make sure.
AIG (may they all burn in hell) says that the change of ownership paperwork is nice but they don't care. The annuity is in my sister's name only.
It's obvious we really don't have any rights if she wants to hang on.
Any thoughts? Does anyone have experience with "original intent" changes to annuities?
disclaimer: i am not a lawyer, just a logical person. but i did serve as an Alternate Executor for my mom.
from the outside of the aquarium, the key points i saw are in RED above.
i would suggest you ALL draft a letter, ALL sign it, and send it to AIG. tell them to fix their account registration and ownership records. include a copy of the ownership transfer document(s).
maybe the letter typed on your family attorney's letterhead would get better results.
last time i checked, no corporation's internal paperwork can reverse or overrule a valid signed document by all parties involved. if ownership was transferred by mutual agreement and signed by ALL siblings, and the document is legally sound, you are golden.
oh, and it is CRITICAL, in your collective favor, that this was accomplished prior to your dad's passing (my condolences).
good luck.
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:29 PM   #5
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2B, why don't the sisters and brothers that want to cash it in pay the 5%or 10%. This way there's no reason the others can have to keep it.
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:36 PM   #6
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Sounds like WaMu screwed up. I would think about attacking it from that position--what are you, WaMu going to do to fix this problem that you created by first not properly indicating the beneficiaries and second by not fixing the first problem correctly.
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:43 PM   #7
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Minor update -- I talked with my youngest sister, the "owner," and she agrees to cash it in ASAP. That's 100% agreement amongst the siblings. She's going to go to the FA this week and ask what the real story is. I'm going to call her and give her Martha's suggestion.
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Old 11-15-2008, 06:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
Your younger sister's current share (indavertently hers) is 100 percent, or $143K. You and all siblings' intended share (if you can get it straightened out) is 20 percent, or $29K. Younger sister has more to lose ($113K) by allowing your father's intent to go forward.

I hope your younger sister agrees to just cash it in now, share it per your father's intent, and let all of you contribute to her tax burden as is.
If there is some flaw in the transfer of ownership papers and the youngest sister still has 100% ownership, would have to pay a penalty in addition to the taxes, because she is not yet 59-1/2 (like an early IRA withdrawal) if the annuity is cashed in? If there is some flaw in the original transfer of ownership, is it possible to re-do it, or did it have to be completed during your dad's lifetime?
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The Saga Continues......
Old 11-22-2008, 04:55 PM   #9
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The Saga Continues......

I have talked with the WaMu people that "service" the annuity and with AIG. Nobody will do anything for us for "original intent." The basic facts are that the annuity is in my sisters name but owned by all five of us. We all have to sign the form to withdrawl the money. Because my sister is under 59 1/2, she is subject to the 10% penalty but AIG assured me it is the IRS and not the annuity that requires this penalty (any comments). It is all taxable to my sister and she will "gift" the money to the other 4 owners according to the WaMu people. This is despite the paperwork that says we are all equal "owners."

My sister was beaten up pretty badly when she went in and said she wanted to withdraw the money. They started in on her about not selling when the market was down. Don't pay the penalty when you can wait 7 years (and pay our fees) and avoid it. You'll have to pay gift tax. It really confused her.

I had talked with the annuity rep's assistant earlier and she was very helpful telling me how easy it would be to withdraw the money. I got a call Friday and I started laughing during the call. She wanted to know if I'd be willing to sign an affidaved that said I'd pay my sister the taxes due. She wanted to know if I'd be happy if all my brothers and sisters left their money in and it went up substantially in value when they all finally cashed in.

I let her know she told me all the money went to my sister. I should be worried she'd pay me what was really due me after she paid her taxes on the withdrawl. As for waiting, I intend to invest the money so I hope my brothers and sisters won't feel too bad finding out what my money grew to without the annuity fees. It was especially funny because of how helpful she had been earlier. Her boss must have let her know how much money they'd lose if we cashed in.

The amount of money isn't that much for each of us. It will work out to about $20,000 to $25,000 each. I'm just pissed at paying the fees for a poor performing VA.

Updates coming....

It's amazing ArtG or the other annuity shills haven't shown up for this thread or not.
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Old 11-22-2008, 05:11 PM   #10
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It's amazing ArtG or the other annuity shills haven't shown up for this thread or not.
It appears that Art has taken an extended vacation and isn't available for comment. As for the others, maybe business is so good they don't need to chum the forum for customers?
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:27 PM   #11
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It appears that Art has taken an extended vacation and isn't available for comment.
Would that be a "moderated" vacation?

2B, if you make your e-mail address public, I'm sure Art reads the posts (or at least searches for his name) and would send you an e-mail...
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:01 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by 2B View Post
As those that follow my periodic annuity rants know, my father opened an annuity in 1995 with the insurance money (whole life policy) from his wife/my mother. The annuity was supposed to be for his five children that would be available when the oldest reaches 59 1/2. I'm now going to share more details and see if anyone has any advice.
Seems pretty simple. Make all 5 primary beneficiaries, at 20% each, and it's done.

Quote:
My sister was my father's POA and executor. He set her up with his POA shortly after my mother passed away. About the same time he wandered into WaMu and asked about "investing for his children." The obvious answer for a man who had limited financial skills was, of course, a variable annuity. The initial "investment" was $65,000.
Was your sister, the POA, at those meetings?

Quote:
Fast forward to 2000. My sisters discovered the annuity. Even they knew it was bad. They tried to get him out of it but the penalty was more than they were willing to lose in assets. It was 10% and the annuity had grown to $182,736. Remember that number because we will revisit it.
The penalty is 10% because it runs under the same rules as IRAs once it gets into the annuity...........and you would still have surrender charges based on how many years the annuity was for.

Quote:
In 2002 at the suggestion of another WaMu investment "advisor" the ownership was supposedly transferred to all 5 children. We signed a document where my sister transferred her ownership and we all rolled it over to AIG. I'm sure a commission was involved somewhere but no telling. My father died shortly thereafter.
What? You ended up buying a NEW VA? What kind of VA was the first one?

Quote:
My youngest sister has repeatedly said that when we cash out of the annuity it has to be through her social security number and she'd have to pay the taxes. She'd then send us each our share. That seemed wrong to me since we were now all co-owners. I decided to risk her wrath and do some snooping.
The only logical explanation is that your sister. as POA, was made primary beneficiary at 100%, and the 4 of you were contingent beneficiaries at 25% each.

Quote:
I called the WaMu agent who was out last week. I did get the assistant who was very helpful. She initially looked at the change of ownership paperwork she had in her file and said it would all be done on individual SS numbers. Everything looked good and there shouldn't be any problem. She then said that she'd double check with AIG to make sure.
Get a copy of that paperwork.........

Quote:
AIG (may they all burn in hell) says that the change of ownership paperwork is nice but they don't care. The annuity is in my sister's name only. It is all her money and, if she dies, her heirs. It also now can not be withdrawn until she is 59 1/2 without penalty. She's a good 9 years from there. The penalty per AIG is now 10%.
If the change in ownership form is correctly filled out, signed, and date stampes, they have to honor that.

Quote:
Just to cheer me up some more the value as of 11/12/08 is $143,604. The annuity must be in some of the worst possible mutal funds in the world or be covered up in fees (or both).
Just to be curious, what was the 12/31/07 value? Most everything is down 40-50% from last year............

Quote:
The assistant (who's not on the hit list should I move forward with that) said that in the past a tax accountant can sometimes change things by going back to the "original intent" of the person that purchased the annuity. That tells me paperwork screw ups must be pretty common. She also gave me the name and number of the AIG contact which I intend to call Monday.
AIG and most insurers have a legal area. Those are the folks you need to talk to.

Quote:
I think it's time to cash out anyway and pay the fee. One sister and two brothers are on board. I've not been able to contact my yougest sister (the "owner") to see where she's at. It's obvious we really don't have any rights if she wants to hang on.
Have a heart-to-heart with her. Obviously she has angst about the whole debacle. If you guys agree to pay the tax on your part of it, what's the big deal to her?

Quote:
Any thoughts? Does anyone have experience with "original intent" changes to annuities?
Tht sounds like "legalese" to me. Maybe Martha has an idea.......
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:29 AM   #13
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Seems pretty simple. Make all 5 primary beneficiaries, at 20% each, and it's done.
That was his intent but the person that set it up screwed it up. Their response to the screw up was "what was done was done and they can't change it now."


Was your sister, the POA, at those meetings?
No my father set it up all by himself. He told my sisters later.



The penalty is 10% because it runs under the same rules as IRAs once it gets into the annuity...........and you would still have surrender charges based on how many years the annuity was for.
There are no surrender charges but AIG does say that the 10% penalty is to the IRS.



What? You ended up buying a NEW VA? What kind of VA was the first one?
I don't know if we bought a new VA or not. The "answer" suggested by WaMu was to change ownership. Unfortunately, that didn't make any real difference since everything is still under my sister's SS number. I suspect a new VA was purchased (and commission paid) because the "selling point" was that it would now be based on my older brother's age and he turns 59 1/2 in December. We all remember that so it turns out the VA sales person was a lying SOB.


The only logical explanation is that your sister. as POA, was made primary beneficiary at 100%, and the 4 of you were contingent beneficiaries at 25% each.
For the original VA I think you are right. Now we are all 20% owners but my youngest sister is still the controlling SS number.


Get a copy of that paperwork.........
I am pretty sure that it will do no good. Theoretically, my sister has it. I've had a long conversation with AIG and I suspect we can do it their way or we can sue. Lawyering up will probably not be cost effective. The most it could accomplish would be to split up the VA into 5 chunks.


If the change in ownership form is correctly filled out, signed, and date stampes, they have to honor that.
We are all 20% owners but it doesn't mean anything.


Just to be curious, what was the 12/31/07 value? Most everything is down 40-50% from last year............
I'm also curious but my younger sister has been the one getting the statements.


AIG and most insurers have a legal area. Those are the folks you need to talk to.
See above.


Have a heart-to-heart with her. Obviously she has angst about the whole debacle. If you guys agree to pay the tax on your part of it, what's the big deal to her?
The way it's set up she gets all the money. We have to hope she sends us our share after she pays the taxes and penalty.


Tht sounds like "legalese" to me. Maybe Martha has an idea.......

I'm not shouting but I wanted my comments to stand out.

My sister is going through angst. She went down Thursday to tell them we wanted out. The annuity sales person went through a long litany of all the problems pulling the money out. I told her none of those problems will go away unless we wait until she turns 59 1/2. In that case, we'll have paid close to 40% in fees instead of the 10% penalty. They did point out to her that everyone charges fees so she might as well leave it in. I am assuming they get a cut of the ongoing annuity fees. I can't believe if they didn't they would be so focused on getting her to not take out the money.

I told her she needs to minimize her time around drug dealers, child molesters and annuity sales people.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:42 PM   #14
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Things just get worse with this crap.....

My sister is now unable to deposit the check from the annuity because it was made out in all of the siblings names. We all signed but that doesn't seem to be enough.

She has had the annuity charged against her SS number and owes taxes on the total amount. WAMU won't let her deposit the check into her account because the check was made out to all of the siblings.

I'm prepared to fly to Seattle to open a joint account but it seems totally silly since it will be closed in a week.

Annuities suck or worse.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:57 PM   #15
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I hate insurance companies. Every time I get involved with them the outcome sucks.

I won't get into all the BS I went through with 3 whole life policies over the last 30 years. All I can say is all 3 ended up in class action suites.

Glad I was smart enough not to buy an annuity.

Sounds like you're at the finish line 2B.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:06 PM   #16
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2B, maybe it really is time to hire a professional, not a hit man but what about the ol' family lawyer? It sounds like these people have an unlimited capacity to yank you & your siblings around. It sounds as if it would reduce the aggravation all around to hire someone to yank in the opposite direction on your behalf, and might cost less than flying to Seattle and back just to open and close a bank account, too.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:27 AM   #17
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One of the things I found out with an annuity that my mother bought a long time ago was there is an 'owner' and a 'beneficiary'.... and they do not have to be the same...

You say that all 5 'own' it... probably so as you have seen, but that does not mean you are the ones who get the money...

Now that you have a check... well, it is to late to fix anything now... the problem is that now your sister will have a HIGH tax and will lose out on deductions and credits which you and your siblings will probably not consider paying her... but I could be wrong on this... maybe you will...
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:21 AM   #18
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2B , do you have a handle of actual damages by sister taking the tax hit vs the total of 5 smaller tax hit's ? It's worth a chat with an atty. specialist in anuity sales fraud.

If it was me ,(and I hate WAMU big time) , I would only file a court action if it a slam-dunk, or , if the recovery would be over 20K. I have only sued once in 49 years. It was against a " Mega-corp ". I won more than expected . The money was not worth the hassle, but the lesson on "how to get The Giant to move in the correct direction " was.

You are now dealing with JPM/Chase , not just WAMU.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:47 AM   #19
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Things just get worse with this crap.....

My sister is now unable to deposit the check from the annuity because it was made out in all of the siblings names. We all signed but that doesn't seem to be enough.

She has had the annuity charged against her SS number and owes taxes on the total amount. WAMU won't let her deposit the check into her account because the check was made out to all of the siblings.

I'm prepared to fly to Seattle to open a joint account but it seems totally silly since it will be closed in a week.

Annuities suck or worse.
I do not have a solution to the Check Endorsement issue. The fact that all the proceeds are charged to your Sister on her SSN and she gets the 1099, in her name only I assume, she can issue 1099's to each sibling for their share (and send them a check, an there is a block on the Schedule B she will have to make sure to check) after she gets the check deposited. She will have to file a 1096 (which is simple) to transmit the IRS copies of the 1099's she sends to the others. However, I am with you, the DA Annuity company should be able to issue either one check in her name (as recipient of record or some other term) or they should also be able to send out multiple checks for portions of the pay out, with appropriate individual 1099's (they may want a POA from her to do that). What a mess!
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:55 AM   #20
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2B , do you have a handle of actual damages by sister taking the tax hit vs the total of 5 smaller tax hit's ? It's worth a chat with an atty. specialist in anuity sales fraud.

If it was me ,(and I hate WAMU big time) , I would only file a court action if it a slam-dunk, or , if the recovery would be over 20K. I have only sued once in 49 years. It was against a " Mega-corp ". I won more than expected . The money was not worth the hassle, but the lesson on "how to get The Giant to move in the correct direction " was.
All applications for investment related accounts in the US include an arbitration agreement, so going to court is not an option.

FYI 2b it is pretty standard in the annuity business to NOT allow changes in annuitant which it sounds like it is your youngest sister. The purpose of which is to have the insurer avoid angering the IRS by using changes as a method of tax avoidance.
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