At Milestone, we are adept at working with both plaintiff attorneys and their clients to ensure a seamless transition from litigation to life afterwards. Our team provides direction, education, clarity, and protection from the pitfalls that come with financial recoveries, safeguarding every plaintiff’s best interests long after the final judgment has been rendered. Our dedication to service is the hallmark of our firm.
Establishing a trust is a solution that works well in a variety of settlement scenarios, yet our consultants know that putting money in a trust can be just one component of the solution. We can suggest a plan that involves establishing a trust while also making funds available more immediately through other avenues. Our expertise in Special Needs Trusts and Domestic Asset Protection Trusts makes us uniquely qualified to handle a variety of trust scenarios.
Special Needs Trusts (SNT)
A Special Needs Trust is a type of trust that is established to benefit an individual with a disability, specifically under the age of 65, who is considered disabled by government standards. A SNT allows a person with an illness or disability to have income that is held in trust for their benefit without having their assets considered disqualifying from certain government benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other needs-based benefits. Protecting the disabled individual from disqualification is an important function, as the settlement proceeds are often not enough to provide necessary ongoing medical care related to the disabled person’s injury.
Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPT)
One’s assets may come at risk later in life, for a number of reasons. A DAPT is an irrevocable trust that offers the opportunity for lifelong planning and protection of assets. And this doesn’t just apply to settlements—anyone can get a DAPT to protect their assets at any time.
When a Medicare beneficiary receives a settlement due to an injury claim, a Medicare Set-Aside account may be required. This is done to protect the claimant’s future Medicare rights and to ensure that the government does not discontinue their health benefits due to improper consideration of their settlement. Our team will provide you with all your options and work with you to choose the best course of action that ensures your compliance with government regulations.Learn More
Qualified Settlement Fund Administration
A Qualified Settlement Fund (QSF) is a trust that holds settlement funds after the defendant in a lawsuit settles the case and before the plaintiff receives their money. The Milestone team serves as a professional fund administrator, managing all necessary details of the settlement and the arrangement to allocate the funds. This solution is often appropriate for class action or mass tort suits where there is a gross settlement comprised of multiple claimants.
This already complex environment is compounded by ever-evolving compliance requirements, disclosure guidelines, timelines, and ethics rules. Meticulous due diligence is required for the management of every critical detail in this process. From the negotiation of the settlement to the recovery from defendant(s), to the ultimate distribution to the claimants, our consultants are fluent in the nuances and complexities of mass tort and class action suits. This extensive experience provides optimal results for our clients.Learn More
Government Benefits Planning
Consideration of current and future eligibility of government benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income, is an integral part of the planning process. This status must first be acknowledged and adhered to for any plan to be successfully implemented. Our team members routinely perform this due diligence in order to assess the needs of each client. Only then do we move to formulate an appropriate plan.
Available specifically for personal injury victims, wrongful death cases, and Workers’ Compensation claims, a structured settlement is an innovative solution to receiving benefits over a designated time frame. The injured victim has the option to receive all or a portion of compensation from their settlement in a series of guaranteed tax-free payments custom designed to meet their future needs. They have the flexibility to receive any combination of a lump sum for immediate needs and designated payments for long-term necessities.
A long-term structured settlement has several advantages: providing security, guaranteed long-term income, and precious tax advantages. The federal tax code provides that 100% of structured settlement payments are exempt from federal taxes.Learn More
Mediation & General Consulting
Our collective experience, education, and specialties span the many services that comprise the settlement management industry. Known for proficiency and success, our team is frequently asked to provide insight and counsel for all facets of settlement planning in a variety of capacities, formal and informal.
Often we are called upon to be present in mediation. Involving a settlement planner in mediation gives the plaintiff a resource who can answer their financial questions and help interpret offers made to them. A settlement expert can also share knowledge about using the money properly once it’s received, whether through a trust, a structured plan, or another solution.
Attorney Fee Deferrals
Milestone recognizes that the attorneys we work with want innovative financial solutions with an eye on long-term wealth accumulation, too. Contingency-fee attorneys may elect to plan for their personal and professional futures by deferring their fees. There is no minimum or maximum to what you can defer in a year, and we will work with you to create a plan that best fits your needs.
Potential tax benefits for the lawyer are achieved by creating a pre-tax investment, in addition to what is allowable, in qualified and non-qualified plans. It is vital that structured fees are part of the overall plan and thoroughly accounted for in subsequent documentation. Our expertise in both the legal and tax arenas gives us the perspective required to structure attorney fees that are compliant with case law and tax court rulings.Learn More
In cases that do not involve personal injury, such as matrimonial litigation or selling a business or real estate, a non-qualified assignment (NQA) might be the best solution. A NQA is an assignment of an obligation to pay money in the future, and it gives a plaintiff the benefits of financial planning by spreading their assets over a long period of time instead of receiving it in one lump sum (which would be taxable).
Life Care Plan Analysis
Milestone provides a comprehensive assessment of your client’s immediate and long-term financial needs. If a life care plan has been prepared for your client, we will complete a comparative analysis to determine funding costs based on the use of different financial solutions. Milestone can provide an analysis to quantify and duplicate costs presented in the economist’s life care plan in order to determine actual annual costs.
Once the cost of the life care plan is established, we can recommend the financial settlement product best suited to fund the plan. The amount needed to fund the life care plan is not the present value of future medical needs determined by the economist, but rather the actual dollar amount required to fund the structured settlement annuity that will generate the necessary monthly payment outlined in the life care plan for the plaintiff’s lifetime medical needs.
All parties within a Workers’ Compensation claim—the employer, the insurance company, and the employee—benefit from a structured settlement. The claimant gets the dual benefits of immediate cash and tax-free payments that can extend over a period of time for future needs. The employer can bring closure to high-indemnity claims, in addition to transferring future payment obligations to a third party. At Milestone, we are adept at utilizing structured settlements in Workers’ Compensation cases to meet our clients’ needs.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows qualified individuals and/or their families to create an ABLE savings account without impacting their eligibility for needs-based public benefits programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
As a national settlement planning firm, incorporating the use of ABLE accounts into settlement planning is an important expertise. If you are an attorney representing a disabled client who is on Medicaid, or if you’re a mass tort lawyer settling an inventory of cases from which many of the clients may be on Medicaid, working with a settlement planner who understands ABLE accounts — and can advocate for your client in every state — is an important distinction.Learn More