Personal Injury Consulting
As a national leader in the field of Elder Law & Special Needs Planning with 40 years of experience, our expertise in estates and trusts, in combination with our knowledge of public benefits allows us to assist with maximizing a client’s settlement or award, while also supporting the plaintiff’s bar as they navigate the maze of issues that present outside of litigation. We understand that personal injury cases are complex and require a variety of complicated considerations, both prior to and after a settlement or award. Our knowledge sets us apart from other firms in the area and also makes us an excellent partner for personal injury attorneys.
Let our attorneys handle the following:
Qualification of Fiduciary
A personal injury attorney will often need a qualified fiduciary to file suit. Whether your client is incapacitated and in need of a guardian and conservator for a personal injury action, or whether you need a personal representative to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of an estate, Hook Law Center can assist with getting the necessary fiduciaries appointed and qualified.
Public Benefit Preservation
If your client receives means-tested public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid, it is important that you understand the affect of a settlement or award. We often assist clients and their attorneys in developing strategies to protect public benefit eligibility. By utilizing various tools such as a settlement protection trust, special needs trust or a comprehensive Medicaid spend down, we can work to maximize the results of litigation.
If your client needs assistance maintaining health insurance under COBRA or obtaining health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we can explain the rules and help with the applications.
Clients, regardless of age, often have a need to protect their settlement or award against mismanagement. Whether the client is a spendthrift or a minor who is unable to effectively manage their own assets, or a client who would just prefer professional management of funds, we can utilize various trusts to preserve funds until such time that it would be appropriate for the beneficiary to manage his or her own assets.
Application For Public Benefits
Personal injury victims must often wait a considerable about of time before receiving their settlement or award. In some cases, a significant injury may result in additional care needs that can create a financial hardship. We work with clients and attorneys to assess what options may be available to assist in easing this hardship.
Medicare Set Aside Arrangement
If your client currently receives or has a “reasonable expectation” of receiving Medicare, the client may have a duty to take Medicare’s future interest into account. As a result, your client may have an obligation to set aside some of the settlement or award funds to pay future medical expenses related to the injury. We assist attorneys and their clients in assessing whether a Medicare Set Aside is necessary, calculating the amount to be set aside, and options for administering the Medicare Set Aside.
Qualified Settlement Funds
A qualified settlement fund allows the parties to resolve litigation while final issues, such as lien resolution or payment of claims, are settled. By placing settlement funds in a qualified settlement fund, the plaintiff may evaluate settlement options outside of the pressures associated with litigation.
A significant settlement or award may complicate the recipient’s estate plan. We can work with the client to develop a plan to meet the client’s long-term estate planning goals.
Although personal injury settlements and awards are income tax free, compensation for loss of income or injury to property may be taxable income. We can help explain the rules, plan for the minimization of the tax burden, and prepare the necessary returns. As a result of a large settlement or award, your client may wish to consider estate & gift tax planning. We can help with this planning and the preparation of necessary documents. To learn more about developing a trusted partnership, call the Hook Law Center today.