An unexpected death launches the survivors into an extended period of trauma and uncertainty. When it’s a wrongful death, your clients will need specialized guidance not only on the legal and financial options that are right for their situation, but also on the major elements of transition that invariably accompany loss. The goal? To create a stable financial future for the individual or family.
When the decedent is a parent, structured settlement planning depends largely upon the nuances of each family’s situation. That’s why it’s so important to engage the structured settlement consultant early, so the survivors are adequately protected. Let’s look at some scenarios:
If the decedent had been the family’s sole supporter, we recommend a structure that takes into account the following:
Often, the most challenging situation occurs when the decedent has been the anchor of the household. The structure must:
When the decedent is a more mature adult with a working spouse and an empty nest, considerations change a bit. We make sure to check all the boxes on a comprehensive financial checklist that covers the following:
You would be right in thinking that in cases like this, it’s essential to bring on the structured settlement consultant in the earliest stages, allowing time for the consultant and the family to build trust and to create the foundation for a robust settlement plan.
But it’s never just about the money. Major life transitions require specialized expertise in helping clients through the cognitive and emotional setbacks, and attorneys should not be asked to take on this role. This is why Traci Kaas has acquired the advanced designation of Certified Financial Transitionist®, which allows her to expertly guide clients through the technical side of settlement planning as well as the very human side of loss and transition. In every case, clients are faced with both personal and financial reinvention, and they need the kind of counsel a CeFT® is trained to offer.
When an individual’s death leads to a major financial windfall, the survivors are almost always conflicted about receiving the money and need careful, long-term guidance so they emerge from the tragedy in a strong and stable position. “A lot of people think it doesn’t feel right to take the money,” Traci says. “They don’t want it. It represents an acceptance of the death. I help them see their settlement in terms of legacy planning.”
One of Traci’s clients, a single mother whose 16-year-old daughter was killed in an accident, has struggled for years to come to terms with the resulting $9 million settlement. The money was life-changing; where once she struggled to provide a private-school education for her gifted daughter, she now has a gorgeous home, an income that’s guaranteed for life, and the dream car they always talked about. But how can she accept and enjoy those things, when they came at the cost of her precious daughter’s life? Clearly, there’s a great deal more to genuinely helpful settlement planning than figuring out how to structure the funds
For more information regarding guidance for surviving spouses and families, contact Traci Kaas at Kaas Settlement Consulting today at (800) 354-2258 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.