When a plaintiff files a lawsuit, he or she begins to gather a team of legal experts who aim to obtain the most successful and efficient outcome. As the case wraps up, it makes sense to follow through with financial expertise to ensure the settlement is as useful as possible.
Families with relatively substantial wealth often have a family office manage their money. These offices involve the help of specialists like CPAs, portfolio and investment managers, legal advisors, and others. Like a family office, a comprehensive settlement planning firm provides clients with the expertise and support to help them make informed decisions about their financial future upon receiving their settlement.
Comprehensive settlement planning firms diligently assess the plaintiff’s future needs and financial goals. They then use that information to develop a settlement plan. These experts have the appropriate licensure and appointments to act as broker of record if there is a need to structure.
More specifically, what does a settlement planner do? First, the expert will assist the plaintiff and his or her attorney in building a framework of knowledge prior to settlement. The goal is to ensure both parties have a strong understanding to make sound decisions with the settlement proceeds.
During the life of a settlement, a settlement planner acts as an advocate for the plaintiff and attorney by managing the financial challenges presented by settlement. This may involve all or some of the following:
- Repayment of non-recourse funding
- Dealing with liens
- Resolving marital disputes
- Preserving government benefits and programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, Section 8 housing, and others
An expert settlement planner will also make recommendations for investment management and stewarding the assets recovered in settlement for long periods of time. He or she will consider taxes, fees, market risk and the longevity of the plaintiff’s needs.
When appropriate, a planner will also develop a structured annuity and include it as part of the overall financial plan. That means ensuring important points of distinction have been disclosed to the plaintiff and confirming the structure is properly included in the settlement terms.
Minors, disabled children, and disabled adults who obtain a settlement will have their own specific set of needs. Their planner will explore fiduciary controls available within trust solutions that will enable optimal care. The settlement planner can interview trust officers and trust companies and develop recommendations.
The heart of the settlement planner’s role is considering the totality of the family’s needs and then connecting those needs with the right financial, legal and insurance solutions. The result is a concrete and reliable recommendation on how to achieve and sustain financial security with the proceeds of the settlement.
For many plaintiffs, settlement planning is the next logical step in the getting the right advice, expertise and support for their lawsuit. Contact Milestone Consulting to see what our experts can do for your client.
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).