How To Take Control And Why
Structured settlements are a powerful financial planning tool and are the cornerstone of most financial settlement plans. However, all too often the injury victim’s first experience with structured settlements is when one is offered by the defendant instead of their own trusted advisor. Plaintiff counsel can employ his or her own settlement planner at no cost, to give advice on this important financial transaction. A settlement planner receives compensation for his or her services directly from the life insurance company whose product they offer; it does not come from the victim’s money nor does plaintiff counsel have to compensate them for their expert advice.
You can take control of the settlement planning process by informing the defendant that you intend to employ your own settlement planner. Advise the defendant that your planner will work directly with the victim, design the plan and help select a highly rated life insurance company or companies with whom the structured settlement will be placed. Allow the defendant to bring their own structured settlement consultant to the table, but insist that your planner will work directly with the victim to create the final plan. The injured party together with their own advisor, family or guardian and plaintiff counsel should make the decision on the most important financial transaction of his or her life.
With the recent developments in professional liability law for plaintiff counsel concerning structured settlements and public assistance, it is imperative to employ your own advisor to educate your client about structured settlements as well as public benefit preservation techniques. Failing to offer a structured settlement or preserve public benefits can have disastrous consequences for the plaintiff and ultimately result in a claim against plaintiff counsel.
By counseling the personal injury victim, we satisfy counsel’s obligation to advise the client concerning their option to do a structured settlement and also preservation of public benefits. Each individual we work with will be offered an array of financial options, including a special needs trust if appropriate, and will be asked to sign a waiver acknowledging they understand these options if they turn them down. By having a waiver signed, we help protect counsel from claims stemming from failure to offer a structure or loss of public benefits.