If you were involved in a car accident, slip and fall, workplace accident, or incident involving medical negligence, you might be expecting a substantial personal injury settlement. No matter how the settlement is paid, you should put some thought into how you are going to manage the money and whether it will prevent you from collecting important need-based benefits such as Medicaid or disability. The estate planning attorneys at Alperin Law understand your options and will work with you to preserve your settlement and make sure it doesn’t interfere with the government benefits you are receiving today or may be eligible to receive in the future.
What Is a Structured Settlement?
After you are injured in an accident that was not your fault, the insurance company for the at-fault party is likely to offer a structured settlement to compensate you for your losses at the hands of their insured client. In a structured settlement, you will receive regular payments over many years rather than a single, lump-sum payment. Insurance companies prefer this method of settlement because they avoid paying out the full policy limits up front and may even save money in the long run. Structured settlements can be advantageous to the injured recipient as well by offering a tax advantage, preventing them from squandering their compensation, and ensuring a recurring payment to make up for medical bills and lost income for years to come.
When a Structured Settlement Could Cost the Recipient
If you qualified for Medicaid before the accident or became eligible for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) because of your accident injuries, a structured settlement could make you ineligible. If the settlement payments are not enough to cover your ongoing expenses, this could be a devastating loss of income. Fortunately, you may be able to work with our estate planning team to ensure that you can continue receiving the public benefits you need after you have been awarded a structured settlement.
What Alperin Law May Be Able to Do for You
For most personal injury attorneys, estate planning is out of the scope of their practices, and they may not be able to help you plan for your settlement in a way that preserves your other benefits. However, the attorneys at Alperin Law may be able to help by setting up a special needs trust to receive the structured settlement payments. The trust would be named as the recipient of the payments so that the money does not disqualify you from receiving the other benefits you need. The trustee of the special needs trust would be able to pay on your behalf for a wide variety of your needs, such as additional support services at home, vacations, companions, vehicles, and a residence. Because the payments are not being made directly to you, the money will not count against you when qualifying for Medicaid or SSI. It is best to set up the trust before you begin receiving your structured settlement, so call our estate planning team as early in the process as possible.
Alperin Law’s Other Personal Injury Settlement Services
Even if you do not qualify for public benefits, you would be smart to meet with our attorneys to discuss your personal injury settlement. If a loved one receives a lump-sum payment and you are worried about the funds being squandered because of his age, level of responsibility, or competence, we can utilize various trusts to protect the funds from mismanagement. We can also help determine the need for a Medicare Set Aside and calculate the amount to be set aside and your options for administering the account.
Don’t Assume You’re Set for Life
After a difficult and costly accident, it can be tempting to think you’re all set once you receive a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company but, without some advance estate planning, you could be missing out on opportunities to maximize and protect those assets for when you really need them. If you have questions about a personal injury settlement, contact us today. We serve all communities in Eastern Virginia, including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Isle of Wight County, Hampton, and the Eastern Shore.