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How to Establish A Structured Settlement - Settlement Fiduciaries

  1. Who is a Settlement Fiduciary?
  2. Anyone who makes decisions on behalf of a minor or incapacitated adult related to final settlement of a personal injury claim may owe—formally or informally—a fiduciary duty to that claimant.

    Those formally appointed to represent the ward's best interests typically include guardians, conservators, and possibly attorneys and attorneys ad litem. Depending on their actions (and the sophistication of the client), trial attorneys themselves may owe such a duty.

  3. Is it really my job to set this thing up?
  4. Yes and no. While it will not be you who literally puts the structured mechanism in place, it is absolutely your job to assess its value to your ward and mandate its use in appropriate cases.

    Beyond a mere job, settlement fiduciaries bear a legal duty to inform themselves of the options available to their wards and to ensure that no value is overlooked or negligently waived. You could be held personally liable for damages if you don't.

  5. How do I "inform myself" about all this?
  6. Without apology, we suggest you go to www.settlemaster.com. Everything you need to know is there.

  7. What do I do if I believe a structure is in order but none is being planned?

    Guardian and conservator: inform your attorney that this is what you want. Ask that a professional be retained to advise you. If necessary, make it clear that you will agree to no settlement that fails to garner these benefits.

    Guardian ad Litem and/or attorney ad litem: make it clear to the attorneys for both sides that you will not recommend any settlement presented to the court that fails to capture benefits you have identified as valuable for your ward/client. If necessary, beyond merely witholding recommendation, inform them that you will formally oppose any deficient settlement in court.

  8. Settlement fiduciaries occupy a unique position in the negotiation of personal injury settlements. If you are unsure of your role or have other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by either email or telephone.