Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
My 8-year-old son will be getting a large personal injury settlement in the next 3 months. I have to meet with a financial group and the guardian ad litem next month to go over the particulars. I have two questions. We currently live in a rental house and I wonder if we will be allowed to buy a home as long as it is in my son’s name? Also, in cases of very large settlements, are the parents allowed to make a monthly draw from the account so that the child can have a better life now? My son’s condition is life-long and we have ongoing expenses for him.
The answer to this question can vary substantially depending upon the state you live in. If you have not already, you should consult a personal injury attorney within your state for specific advice. Generally speaking, money in a settlement for a minor is not available for withdraw until that minor turns 18. The exception to this would be to address actual costs associated with the injury. The purchase of a home is probably not a legitimate use of the settlement money. Although your son would live there, it is not addressing his immediate needs stemming from the injury, and he cannot enter into contracts or otherwise agree to purchase a home until he is 18. Again, your circumstances may provide exceptions, such as if your son now needs a handicap accessible home to address his needs post-injury. The guardian ad litem is appointed to consider your son’s interests regarding the settlement, and he or she will be best positioned to advise what are and are not legitimate expenditures for the care of your son.