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Thursday February 12, 2015

Cases arrive in "3's"
posted by Oliver Barber, Jr.



            It has been my experience in the practice of law over the last 40 years that, in my private practice, cases arrive in 3’s.  The classic example is what has happened over the last two weeks.

            The first case involved a cute little girl who was riding on a school bus and was injured in an automobile accident that was caused by a truck driver. 

            The parents asked me and this firm to bring litigation to recover the damages that were received by the young lady as a result of this automobile negligence.

            We are in the process of reaching a settlement on this case which could put approximately $90,000.00 on the table.

            A big portion of that sum will have to go into a trust account managed through court to guarantee that the young lady will receive her benefits after she reaches the age of 18.

            That money will be monitored and accounted for every year to guarantee that it will be used solely for her purposes and her needs.

            The second case involves a developmentally disabled child with Prader-Willi syndrome.  The dad came to see me about setting up a will and trust for this young lady.

            What we were able to do with this one is to set up a trust that guarantees on the death of the dad, that whatever money that she can get from the estate will be protected for her.  To that end, there will be a trust with trustees and a committee of three or five people who will advise the father on how this money should be spent.  This is a trust that will not be monitored through the court system except to the extent that it will go through probate and be approved by probate.

            The third case also involves a child, in this case a 13 year-old girl, who was injured in an automobile accident and the case had been settled and handled by another firm.

            The mother wanted us to put together the trust through the court system that would make it possible for the small amount of money that was made available as part of the settlement to be protected.  So, we are going to set up a trust through the court system that will guarantee that that $15,000.00 will be available for the child’s education later on.

            One of the things that all of these cases have in common obviously is the age of the recipients of the money.

            Second, the money needs to be protected sometimes, in the case of the young lady with Prader-Willi syndrome, from the federal government.

            As long as she cannot touch that money and control it, then she can continue to draw her entitlements without forfeiting the money that she received from the estate.

            Finally, the courts are involved in one way or another in order to make sure that this money is protected and dispensed according with either the wishes of the parents or the estate and in the best interest of the child.