In terms of getting paid as a trial lawyer, class actions are undeniably different than individual suits — attorney fees are typically higher, and they come from a court-ordered class attorney fee award rather than a contingency fee agreement. It’s these very disparities that have caused many attorneys to assume they cannot reap the benefits of fee deferrals.
However, attorneys CAN still structure class action fees into periodic payment obligations. It just comes down to determining whether it’s the right wealth planning move.
To start thinking about the potential to defer a class action fee, ask the following questions:
- Is deferment possible, considering my current financial needs and those of my firm?
- If I’m able to structure payments instead of getting a lump sum right now, what is the best product for my payment stream? Private wealth portfolio, permanent insurance, equity or fixed annuities?
- How would I distribute the money? Periodic payment obligations are 100% customizable. You decide the length of time to defer the fee so wealth accumulates and becomes available at the perfect time.
In addition to accumulating wealth on a pretax basis, deferring fees include advantages like yielding a lower tax bracket, creating a steady flow of income in a field where the payment stream isn’t always predictable, and setting up a strategy for philanthropy, family vacations — anything you would like to use your money for.
As long as the court orders a qualified settlement fund into existence, class action attorneys are able to elect periodic payment obligations as their distribution of choice. If that decision is right for you, deferring your fees can be an exceptionally useful tool to accumulate wealth and have financial success. Feel free to give Milestone a call to discuss the possibilities.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).