In Sickness and In Health

The claimant was in his 30s and paralyzed from the chest down. No bowel or bladder control and no genital-to-genital sex. The settlement was seven figures.

Throughout the years since the accident, his wife had devotedly cared for him and acted as his champion.

Only One Person Perceived The Vibe In The Room
The claimant’s attorney had brought me in on this settlement. One reason, I believe, was my extensive experience. I had seen cases like this before.“Have you considered protecting the settlement to make sure it goes for his care? What if his wife leaves him?” I asked.“Oh, no,” he immediately answered. “She has been a rock. That won’t happen.”

I described a couple financial preservation methods the claimant could consider. All were rejected.

You Know What Comes Next
The next time I spoke with that claimant’s attorney he mentioned, “Do you remember John Smith? It was just as you predicted. As soon as the money was in their bank account, she left and filed for divorce. He didn’t put up much of a fight, and she got a big chunk of the settlement.”

Part of the Job

As mediator, I try to help people recognize issues in the case. That includes how to make available funds go further. That might be through a financial planning device or perhaps characterization of the funds in an insurance reserve. I might even raise the issue of protecting the funds from someone who had promised to be there “until death do us part.”