Estate Planning After Winning A Settlement

Whether you currently have an estate plan in place or you have yet to draft so much as a will, if you’ve recently won a personal injury settlement or damages award, it’s time to consider how this turn of events will affect your estate planning needs.

Do not procrastinate when it comes to this process. Certainly, it can be tempting to wait to update an existing plan until your usual review period, perhaps the first of every year. Similarly, it can be tempting to put off the undertaking of estate planning entirely until you’re older or are in particularly poor health. However, no one knows what the future holds and failing to act now could lead to serious financial consequences that could compromise your legacy and the stability of your loved ones in the event that you’re incapacitated or pass away.

Safeguarding What You’ve Won

Depending on the amount of compensation that you’ve been awarded, your financial situation may have changed substantially since your case concluded. You may have settled debts, purchased property, or made new investments. Each of these significant financial turns of events need to be reflected in your estate plan.

A failure to address them explicitly in an existing plan could lead to confusion and/or in-fighting among your beneficiaries. Alternatively, if you fail to create an estate plan at all and something happens to you, the state will decide who inherits your property, including your compensation award. As most people don’t care for the government telling them what to do with their money or property, chances are that you’d rather decide where your assets go when you’re gone, rather than having the state make that decision for you.

Taking Action

As any experienced personal injury lawyer will confirm, there is no amount of money that can truly make up for the trauma caused by an injury resulting from another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. Yet, compensation awards can help to mitigate the financial strain caused by preventable injurious scenarios of this kind. If you don’t want your loved ones to go back to dealing with the kind of financial strain that occurred in the wake of your harm, it’s time to act.

If you have an existing estate plan, it’s time to visit your attorney to have them help you update your documentation to reflect your new reality. If you have questions about how best to safeguard your compensation in life and after death, they can answer all of your questions and assist you with taking meaningful actions accordingly.

If you don’t have an estate plan in place yet, this is not the time to attempt a “do-it-yourself” approach. There is too much at stake when it comes to your legacy and the future financial well-being of your loved ones to take chances on documentation that may or may not be sufficient and may or may not be enforceable. Connect with a skilled lawyer to discuss appointing a financial power of attorney in the event of incapacitation, drafting a will and/or trust to manage your assets, and otherwise protect what you’ve worked hard to earn and what you’ve been awarded as a result of the harm you’ve suffered.

While the task of estate planning in the wake of being awarded personal injury compensation can be daunting, as our friends at Cohen & Cohen know, this compensation is far too meaningful to remain unprotected. By acting now, you can better ensure that it can continue to operate to your loved ones’ benefit after you’re gone.