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My client has received a personal injury settlement. How can a Personal Injury Settlement Consultant help me consider other factors and non-medical benefits?

by: Begley Admin

The previous blog discussed the importance of a Personal Injury Settlement Consultant. This blog continues that discussion and covers additional factors to be considered. This includes:

• Intestacy. An issue in many cases is intestacy. In many states, if the injured plaintiff is a minor or disabled person, a special needs or support trust must provide that absent the exercise of a power of appointment in a will, the proceeds remaining after the Medicaid payback and the payment of other expenses must be passed under the law of intestacy. If a pooled trust is established, then, depending on state law, money might remain in the pool for other disabled beneficiaries and never pass through intestacy. A problem occurs if one parent has abandoned the person with disabilities. In some states, such as Virginia, the intestacy statute precludes an abandoning parent from inheriting from a child; yet in other states, the abandoning parent has a full right of inheritance. In these situations, it is advantageous to allocate as much as possible to the parent actually providing the care. In these cases, it is important to include a testamentary power of appointment in the special needs trust or support trust for an injured minor plaintiff. If the injured plaintiff is incompetent, the testamentary power of appointment solution will not work. In drafting a self-settled special needs trust, the scrivener should be careful to include a power of appointment to be exercised by the beneficiary. A competent adult beneficiary should execute a will referring to the power of appointment immediately. In the case of a minor beneficiary, it is good practice to calendar the minor’s eighteenth birthday and have a will executed on that date. This is particularly important in cases where one parent, often a father, has disappeared from the beneficiary’s life.

• Non-Medical Public Benefits. Many clients, especially those receiving Workers’ Compensation, have an income and certain medical coverage through WC but have not applied for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). The Elder and Disability Lawyer should review the benefits that the client is receiving and determine whether there are any other benefits that the client may be eligible for and should either file an application for those benefits or arrange for others to do so. An Elder and Disability Law Firm could apply for SSDI or could arrange for another law firm or a company, such as GENEX, to file the application on behalf of the client with a disability.

Section 8 Housing is also a means-tested program. While there is no asset test, there is an income test. Lawyers should be familiar with these rules and assist clients in filing the necessary applications.

Additionally, public benefit programs may pay for certain budget items. Disability lawyers must be familiar with these programs and can be of enormous assistance to the disabled person and his family by providing assistance to access these programs. Other public benefits that should be considered include:
Food stamps
Utility assistance
Special education
Vocational assistance
Group homes
Benefits from state disability agencies
The next discussion will go over important factors such as taxes, estate planning, and investing after a personal injury settlement. To learn more, visit the Begley Law Group website at www.begleylawgroup.com.