A court must approve a personal injury settlement on behalf of a minor or incompetent, as petitioned by his or her legal guardian. Thus, the final choice of the settlement funding vehicle will be at the discretion of the judge.
The judge can choose from the option of cash, annuity , or a combination thereof. If lump sum cash is the option for payment, the judge will usually require the settlement proceeds be restricted in a bank account until the legal age.
There is, fortunately, a better alternative than the restricted lump sum cash account. This form of payment is most preferred by judges. This is the structured settlement annuity for minors.
Why is it preferred? A structured settlement annuity can be very beneficial for the minor recipient. It can address several issues that parents or guardians face for their child's best interest in the long run.
These annuities provide guaranteed payments that are in fact exempt from taxes. It can actually provide guaranteed payments to fund college tuition and post-graduate expenses as well. Structured annuities are also a form to get away with expensive account supervision over the years and the complexities for annual administrative filings.
The federal government now recognizes structured settlements as a great alternative to lump sum payment. This is parallel to their effort in assisting the minor child in having some form of control over the financial gain from a third party lawsuit.
It is with the structured settlement that the plaintiff, who is a minor child, and the defendant can agree the settlement dollar value and how those dollars are applied over the years.
When establishing the structured settlement specifically for the minor recipients in a personal injury case, the settlement payments are created with the purpose of meeting the health care needs of the child in the future.
Structured settlement payments established for minors will not only provide for monthly annuity payment of the recipient but will also let for a specific allotment of monies to the benefit expense payments like for education purposes. In addition, it is common to include provisions for lump sump payments at specific life events like high school graduation.
For the benefit of the minor, the settlement payments are spent on the service for which they are designed for. This prevents the spending on other expenses outside the terms of the settlement agreement which parents or legal guardians may be tempted to do. This usually happened in the past without much regulation or with lump sum payments.
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