If you expect to receive a settlement as the result of a major injury or the death of a loved one, it is normal to feel overwhelmed. You may have questions about what to do with the money. Should you invest it? Should you put it in the bank? How will your government benefits be affected?
Settlement planning is a process of taking a holistic look at a plaintiff’s personal and financial situations. A settlement planner will help the plaintiff develop a plan that can include a combination of structured settlement annuities, liquid investments and long-term investments. This combination will help you meet your immediate needs, while preserving your wealth to take care of future needs.
Eligibility for government benefits is also taken into consideration. A settlement planner will work with you to develop a plan that helps you maintain eligibility for these important programs if applicable. Most importantly, a settlement planner will act in your best interest, from mediation throughout the life of your settlement plan.
You Have Options
Your net settlement proceeds are available to you in the form of a lump sum, unless there are restrictions placed within your settlement agreement. The lump sum available to you is the remainder after attorney fees, case expenses, and any other deductions from your settlement, such as liens. You also have the option to receive your settlement proceeds in part, or in full paid to you over time via structured settlement annuity, also known as a structured settlement.
There are also a variety of planning tools that can help you plan for your future financial security while maintaining eligibility for government benefits. Some of these options include:
- First-person special needs trust
- Third-party special needs trust
- Pooled trust
- Domestic asset protection trust
- Medicare set-aside
The right settlement planning option for you depends on your unique situation. If settlement is coming up in your personal injury lawsuit, consider talking with your attorney about working with an expert planner before the money arrives.
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).