All children are entitled to live in a safe, happy and healthy environment. Unfortunately, because they are vulnerable and unable to care for themselves, children are sometimes victims of the negligence or abuse of others, in some cases sustaining physical injuries and emotional damage as a result. In other cases, the loss or death of a parent or caregiver can seriously disrupt a child’s life and affect the child’s well-being far into the future. At Meinhart, Smith & Manning, we take a special interest in helping parents and guardians of affected children to plan for their future and protect their children when they are most in need.
Child Taxes, Guardianships, and Trusts
Establishing for the continuing care of children who are victims of others’ negligence often requires experience beyond personal injury law. Other issues, such as guardianship’s, trusts, annuities and college funds are important to consider, and affected children can benefit greatly from an attorney skilled in trust and estate law.
At Meinhart, Smith & Manning, our experience in this area of law can help the parents or guardians make certain that the long-term benefits of any children involved will be maximized. Trust and estate planning has important and unique tax implications, and we make certain to minimize tax liability when planning for children’s short and the long term financial needs.
Surviving children are often entitled to recover damages for the losses caused by the death or disability of his or her parent, including loss of companionship, maintenance, the value of training, advising and educating a child and mental anguish. Typically, any recovery should be held in trust until your child is 18 years of age. However, there are some exceptions for recoveries less than $10,000, for children with special needs, or in the case of court approved expenditures to benefit your child.
After retaining a lawyer, the next step is to have the parent or adult raising the child appointed as guardian so they can act on behalf of their child for legal purposes. Sometimes, a bond is required (from another person who owns property in the county where the child resides) to ensure that the funds will be protected for the child.
The court that appointed you guardian approves any settlement. We work with guardians or parents to prepare a demand that represents the full value of the claim.
Annuities, College Funds, and Trusts
Meinhart and Smith can also work with children’s parents or guardians to establish annuities or college funds, with a careful eye for reducing tax liability to ensure that future funds are available.
In the case of disabled children, we can assist with establishing a trust to protect benefits, such as SSI (Supplemental Income) or Medicaid. It is important to know that if your child recovers money and trusts are not established and administered properly, government benefits can be jeopardized.
Call Meinhart, Manning & Smith at (877) 776-1219 to find out more about how we can help you plan for your child(ren)’s best interests.