Midland Trust Company’s court supervised trust team specializes in administering guardianships and other court supervised trusts for minors or disabled adults receiving proceeds from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. In order to protect and preserve a ward’s assets the Court may appoint a corporate fiduciary as guardian of the property.
A guardianship of the estate is established by a court for minors or disabled adults that cannot legally manage their finances. The court appoints a Guardian of the Estate that is responsible for all financial and legal matters of the ward. Upon appointment of a guardian of an estate, the court usually requires inventories, budgets, and accountings for the financial estate of the ward. In all types of guardianships, the process does not end with the appointment of the guardian. The process closely links the guardian with the courts which retain control and oversight over the guardianship situation.
BASIC DUTIES OF A GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE
The guardian of the estate is responsible for managing the property, finances, and legal affairs of the ward. At a minimum, the guardian is required to:
- Establish a monthly budget.
- Determine overall cash flow needs and living expenses.
- Pay all bills and ongoing expenses.
- Coordinate medical insurance payments.
- Pay ongoing medical expenses.
- Prepare annual court accountings.
- Prepare state and federal income tax returns.
- Invest and manage all assets, including real estate.
- Investigate and pursue all available public benefits (e.g., Social Security, Medicaid).
- Safeguard the ward’s personal property and maintain insurance coverage if appropriate.
- Apply the ward’s assets to the comfort, care and education of the ward.
- Respond to any legal matters concerning the ward and be sure that he or she is represented in any court proceedings.
LIMITATIONS ON THE GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE
As guardian of the estate, there are certain things that cannot be done without specific permission from the court. A petition must be filed with the court before doing any of the following:
- Transfer or sell any of the ward’s personal property or real estate.
- Mortgage the ward’s real estate or take out any other loans on the ward’s behalf.
- Make any gifts from the ward’s estate, even if the ward gives you permission.
- Expend any large sums of the ward’s money for unusual or extraordinary expenses, such as the purchase of a new home or automobile.
This is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
Sometimes, a disabled individual needs to protect their current or future public benefits. In fact, assets over a certain limit can actually disqualify their benefits. The solution? Establishing a “special needs” or “supplemental needs” trust. It provides a safe harbor for the disabled individual’s assets. That way, assets aren’t counted when determining eligibility for public benefit programs.
Because assets in the trust can be used to pay for needs that government programs don’t cover, a special needs trust can improve your loved one’s quality of life. The trust can make funds available for special therapies, procedures and equipment, as well as for education, training and other items to make your loved one’s life more comfortable.
Types of special needs trusts:
- First-party - Sometimes referred to as “self-settled” special needs trusts, these may be established with a disabled individual’s own assets (typically proceeds from a lawsuit).
- Third-party - These are created and funded with the assets of a person other than the disabled individual, often times a parent or grandparent.
As an administrator of both first-party and third-party special needs trusts, we provide:
- Protection, security and comfort through careful review of your loved one’s needs in relation to government benefits.
- Availability when and where you need us, guiding you through important considerations.
- One-on-one service from an assigned, dedicated trust administrator.
- Access to key services and reduced costs, so their money works harder and goes further.
- Coordination with your loved one’s caregiver, making sure they get what they need - when they need it.
Settlement planning trusts serve personal injury victims who want liquidity and flexibility and who may have uncertain future needs at the time of settlement. These trusts can be used in combination with a structured settlement annuity to provide a more holistic settlement plan.
A settlement trust can give you a more comprehensive settlement plan that provides:
- Flexibility to meet your changing needs
- Access to funds when you need them
- Protection of your settlement proceeds
- No need to sell future annuity payments
Settlement trusts are adaptable and provide:
- Payments for health, support and maintenance
- Replacement of income
- Investment flexibility – as your needs change, so can your investments
- Preparation for the unknown – offering control and flexibility when circumstances change
Future expenses are not always predictable. A settlement planning trust adjusts with you so you can have the funds available when you need them, delivered by a person who knows you and understands your circumstances. The process of receiving payments is easy and flexible. Working directly with your administrator, you can receive periodic payments; payments for emergency needs, medical needs and education needs; discretionary payments; and contingent payments.
Through our services, you benefit from flexibility, protection, security and savings, ensuring the overall value you receive from your settlement award surpasses your expectations.
Our holistic approach includes:
- One-on-one service – from a dedicated trust administrator assigned to you
- Video conferencing – face-to-face meetings in the convenience of your home
- Access to key services – bringing you more services and reducing costs, so your money works harder and goes farther
- Coordination with your providers – making sure you get what you want when you need it
Midland Trust Company delivers value and service through experience, objectivity and compassion. Call today and learn how we advocate for your success.