Disability: Cognitive and Learning Disabilities
In 2015, Natalie, a young girl at the time, incurred physical, emotional and developmental injuries. Due to the length of her legal case, her financial settlement did not occur until she was 18 years old. Natalie’s intention was to finish school and ultimately work with children as a preschool teacher. She aspired to travel with friends, and ultimately have the freedom to move out and be independent from her parents. No longer a minor, Natalie had the option of taking the funds outright, placing them in a structured settlement, or creating a self-settled Special Needs Trust.
Here are the ways Coldstream’s Disability Advisory Services became an advocate for Natalie and assisted her in achieving better outcomes.
Lump-Sum vs. Structured Settlement: Our first items to address were Natalie’s cash flow needs and settlement payout options. Reviewing the two in tandem allowed us to determine the best payout option to pursue. Our review revealed that a blend of a structured settlement for cash flow, and a lump sum settlement for flexibility and long-term growth of assets, was the best strategy for her needs.
Special Needs Trust: We completed a thorough review of Natalie’s life-care plan drafted by her personal injury attorney. After talking with Natalie’s family about her situation, needs, and wants, we advised that the best course of action was to place the lump sum portion of her settlement into a Special Needs Trust. We assisted the personal injury attorney in engaging an attorney to draft the Special Needs Trust.
There are various pros and cons to establishing a Special Needs Trust. The primary reasons we recommended a Special Needs Trust for Natalie:
- Based on the extent of her injuries, Natalie needed long-term rehabilitation and care. Her family had a desire to utilize public benefits; sheltering the lump sum settlement into a trust would allow them to use public benefits first before augmenting with her own funds.
- Natalie’s family and attorney wanted to protect the settlement funds from extended family members. A strong trustee was appointed to ensure the funds were used for Natalie’s benefit.
Trustee Services: Both the family and the attorney wanted a locally based, high-touch trustee. We introduced them to a trustee who fit their requirements and gladly accepted the role. They have worked on conserving the assets for Natalie and assisting the family as they navigated this new phase of their life.
Housing: An initial goal for the family was to find a new housing situation. We collaborated with the trustee in their review of this major purchase for the family. We looked at property location, proximity to health care providers, attributes of the home and neighborhood, financing, and analysis of the ultimate benefactor of the home purchase.
Care Givers: Once settled in their new home, the family needed to bring in care givers to assist Natalie. We helped the family set up a formal payroll structure and liability protection around employing care givers in their home.
How We Can Help You
Every client is unique. Our approach to comprehensive wealth management and disability services is customized to your needs. Our experienced team is here to help connect you to service providers to facilitate any projects you need. Get in touch with Coldstream today and let us help you reach better outcomes.
Disclaimer: While the stories in these examples are true, names and some identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.