7 Things to Expect During a Minor's Settlement

If you expect your child to receive a settlement in the near future as a result of a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you may be wondering who will receive the money, when the money will be received, who will be in charge of the money, and what the money can be used for. Don’t be caught off guard when the Court doesn’t award you or your child the settlement directly and/or immediately, there are still many ways the settlement money can be used for needed expenses.

  1. A settlement for a minor is treated differently than a settlement for an adult.
    • When an adult settles, that adult can do whatever they want with the money as soon as it comes in. Things work differently with a settlement for a minor.
  2. Probate Court has jurisdiction over a minor’s settlement and must approve of the settlement.
    • The reason the Probate Court has jurisdiction over a settlement for a minor is that a minor does not have the same knowledge and power to control their lives as an adult does. Minors typically rely on others, such as their parents, to handle things (such as finances) for them.
  3. The Court typically requires that all settlement money obtained for a minor be deposited into a bank account so the Court can have oversight.
    • Unfortunately, there have been instances in the past in which one or both parents have used money obtained in a settlement for a minor for their own benefit instead of using the money to help the minor. Obviously, this can be devastating for the minor. In an effort to eliminate the possibility that the minor’s money be taken by someone else and used in a way that is not beneficial to them, the Court requires the money to be put in a bank account. The Court will have oversight of the account to ensure the money remains safe and available to the minor upon their 18th birthday.
  4. The money in the account can still be used prior to the minor turning 18.
    • Just because the settlement money for the injured minor is deposited into a Court-monitored bank account does not mean the money cannot be used under any circumstances until the minor turns 18. The parent and/or legal guardian of the minor can file motions with the Court asking for the Court’s permission to utilize those funds. Permission can be granted for a variety of reasons.
  5. The primary thing the Court will want to know is what will the money be used for and how it will benefit the minor.
    • If the parent or guardian can show the Court that the money will be used in a manner beneficial to the child, the Court will likely grant them permission to use the money for those purposes.
  6. The Court will likely give a parent or legal guardian permission to use money from a minor’s settlement for the following reasons:
    • Establishing a trust for the benefit of the minor or using the money for the minor’s medical treatment and/or education. There are a wide variety of expenditures of the minor’s settlement money the Court will approve as long as the money is spent for the benefit of the minor.
  7. It is impossible to know in advance what expenses will be approved by the Court.
    • Although it’s impossible to give an exhaustive list of what expenses will be approved or denied by the Court, as long as one is able to articulate why the expenditure is necessary and how it will benefit the minor, there’s a decent chance the Court will approve it.

Our attorneys have considerable experience with personal injury cases and probate matters. We are here to ensure that you and your loved ones receive the full compensation you are entitled to. Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions at 614-389-9711 or visit https://www.dandblaw.com/contact-us/.


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