I don't know who to trust
Look at the track record and credentials
The "who to trust"decision is the most important and most difficult one you will have to make.
When it comes to trusting your settlement professional, it's best to start with credentials and business model. Here are a few questions you may want to ask:
- First and foremost...does he or she commit to the highest level of client care standards known as the fiduciary standard of care? If he or she is not officially committed to putting their client's interests ahead of their own, you might want to continue your search!
- Has the settlement professional earned designations that qualify him/her to specialize in settlement planning? Look for credentials such as Registered Settlement Planner, Certified Financial Planner, Certified Structured Settlement Consultant.
- How is he/she paid? Be careful if the person has to "sell" you something to be compensated for their efforts. Better to be charged a fair fee for their time and expertise without having a "commission" driven agenda.
- Have them explain their business model. A general rule of thumb is that a limited business model creates a limited solution. In other words, if all the person does is "sell" insurance or investments for commissions, than their solutions will be limited to just insurance or investments. Remember, if all they have is a hammer, everything will look like a nail to them!
- How many injury victims have they worked with as plaintiff advocates?
- How many injury clients continue to work with them on an ongoing basis to keep their plans on track? Does the "planner" only appear for settlement purposes and then disappear, or, do they offer post settlement management services to help ensure the clients thrive in their life after settlement? You will want to work with somebody that is willing to make a long term committment to your (or your loved one's) long term success!
- What organizations do they support in their efforts to be injured plaintiff advocates? Groups like the Society of Settlement Planners is a professional organization has been in existance for over 20 years and is dedicated to protecting plaintiff's interests through published practice standards.