What happens to the settlement funds if it is awarded to me after I die? 40 Answers as of September 05, 2012

I have a pending auto accident settlement in which I am to be awarded a good amount of money. I have however, terminal cancer. What happens to the settlement funds if it is awarded to me after I die.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
It becomes part of your estate just like all of your other assets and is distributed per statute or per your wishes in your will. Go see an estate attorney if you want to make specific bequests. You should also see one to make your end of life plans and address tax implications.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/14/2011
Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
Spell out what you want to happen in your will. If you do not have one, get one made. If you do, add a codicil.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 11/14/2011
Alfred Law Firm
Alfred Law Firm | Janice Alfred
You can prepare a will and designate who the funds should go to. If you die without a will, it will become part of your estate and will go to your surviving heirs - spouse, children, etc.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 11/14/2011
Adler Law Group, LLC
Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
Funds will be evaluated by the probate court. They will be distributed with your other assets as your will dictates or as Connecticut law dictates if you have no will.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 11/11/2011
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
If the case resolves but the funds have not come in until after you die, then the money becomes part of your estate and it is bequeathed under the terms of your will. If there is any chance of your dying before the case is settled, you need to make a bee-line to your lawyer's office and discuss it with your lawyer right away!
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 11/11/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    The funds would go to your estate. If you have a will, the funds would be distributed per your will. If you die without a will, the funds will go to your spouse and children if you have a surviving spouse or children, then to your parents if you have no spouse or children, then siblings if you have no parents, and so forth out to about five degrees of kinship.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield | Jonathan C. Reed
    The settlement funds would go to your estate and be distributed according to either your will or Nevada law governing intestate succession and other probate laws. In certain cases the probate laws trump even a valid will. Talk to an estate and probate attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Richard Martin
    Typically, a decedent's estate is subject to the probate procedures upon one's death. You need to consult a probate or an estate planning attorney to more proactively address your desires regarding the settlement proceeds.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Link & Smith, P.C.
    Link & Smith, P.C. | Houston Smith
    The funds will become part of your estate.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
    This will be an asset that would go to your estate. You can certainly heir it to whomever you wish in your will.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    It will probably go to your next of kin as recognized by law if you have not made specific provisions in a will. You should consult with a probate or accident attorney to either expedite the settle mentor make provision for its payment in a will.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC | Sam L. Levine
    That's a good question & this occurrence is more common then you may think. Following your death, an administrator of your estate would need to be appointed through a petition filed in court, typically, but not always, in the county where you reside. Once the administrator of your estate is appointed, "named" or "public", then the funds would be disbursed in accordance with state law and/or your express wishes as enumerated in a relevant instrument such as a will or trust.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    The money would be paid to your estate. If you want to exercise more control, draft a simple will, designate your choice of executor and tell him how you want that money to go.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    The Law Offices of Paul A. Samakow, P.C.
    The Law Offices of Paul A. Samakow, P.C. | Paul A. Samakow
    Hopefully you have written a Last Will. Funds would then be delivered according to your Will by the Executor of your Will. If you do not have a Will (you should get it done!), then someone will eventually be appointed by the Court to probate your estate, and funds will be delivered according to the State's laws of intestacy. Typically your spouse will get it all; if no spouse, divided evenly between your children; if no children, parents, then siblings.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Usually, structured settlements are guaranteed, so the payments continue on, payable to your estate. You may have the opportunity to appoint an alternate beneficiary. Otherwise, make sure you have a will so that your family will know how to distribute the money when it does come in.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers | Andrew D. Myers
    It goes to your heirs. See an estate planning attorney right away if not sooner.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    If you die and the case still hasn't been resolved, an estate will be opened and the settlement proceeds will be paid into your estate. They will then be disbursed, after costs and fees, according to your will, but if no will then according to Iowa probate law. You should write a will. If you settle, the funds are in your account, then again according to your will or Iowa probate law if you have no will. If you settle with a structured settlement then the money will go to whoever your will leaves it to. Get a will written.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    When a plaintiff passes away before receiving funds, the funds go to the plaintiff's estate. The action is said to "survive". RCW 4.20.046 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.20.046). See sections 50 and 60, too.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Your estate would get the money.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    Michigan has a survival statute and your claim survives.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    It will go to your estate. Make a will or a trust to dispose of these assets.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Attorney & Counselor at Law
    Attorney & Counselor at Law | John Hugger
    The funds would go under your will (or the right to receive the fund would be a claim your estate could make against the responsible party or parties). Be sure to have your estate plan in order. Consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Buff & Chronister, LLC.
    Buff & Chronister, LLC. | Curtis L. Chronister Jr.
    This will depend on your estate plan. If you have a will, then your estate will be divided based on your last will and testament. If you do not have a will, then your estate will be divided based on your state's probate laws. You should seek an estate planning attorney for more specific advice. Your family could lose a great deal of your settlement if you do not protect it through non-probate methods.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    It should go to your estate. Check with your attorney. I generally have structured payments made to the person or his/her estate to eliminate those problems.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Eftekhari Law Offices
    Eftekhari Law Offices | Ehsan Eftekhari
    It would be distributed according to your will. If no will, according to the Estate laws. Most important thing is to make sure your lawyer preserves your testimony by way of evidence deposition. Otherwise, you may not get any money.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Broad Law Firm, LLC
    Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
    If you do not already have a Will, you need to sign one as soon as possible. In Indiana, whoever is named as the personal representative in your Will would take over your personal injury lawsuit, if it is still pending, and whoever you name as beneficiaries under your Will would take the settlement. You should confer with an estate planning attorney in your area to be certain.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/17/2012
    Holzer Edwards
    Holzer Edwards | Kurt Holzer
    In Idaho, the only things that can be awarded to you after death are the actual expenses medical expenses lost wages and the like. Your general damages (pain and suffering etc.) are no longer valid claims after you have passed.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    The Torkzadeh Law Firm
    The Torkzadeh Law Firm | Reza Torkzadeh
    Generally speaking, the funds goes to your estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/5/2012
    Law Office of David Baum
    Law Office of David Baum | David M. Baum
    If you die before the claim is settled, your family can maintain the claim on behalf of your estate. If the case is already settled when you pass on, it will be included as an asset of your estate to be bequeathed according to your will or, if no will exists, by order of a probate court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Kirshner & Groff
    Kirshner & Groff | Richard M. Kirshner
    If the case is settled the funds will go to your estate or heirs.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    Hopefully your diagnosis is wrong and you will be able to overcome it. But if the worst happens, your case will survive you and can be pursued by any heirs at law for the damages you sustained while you were still alive. Any award would be payable to your estate/heirs. If you have people to whom you wish to leave any money who are different from those who "automatically" receive under your state's intestate laws, you should prepare a will immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/17/2012
    Gilbert & Bourke, LLP | Brian J. Bourke
    That depends on the status of the claim. If your claim has been settled and a Release signed, binding Award filed or judgment entered, the funds could be paid to your Estate. However, if you have not actually settled your claim, some of the damages, such as general damages, dies with you. Your Estate could only continue the claim for special damages, such as out of pocket expenses, medical bills, past loss of earnings, etc. If you have an attorney, you need to advise the attorney of your health condition so the attorney can attempt to settle or have a Trial set ASAP, and you can get priority setting based upon your health. Please take immediate action.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    It goes to your estate. You should consider creating a family trust and funding it with your award if the amount is over $300,000.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Your will can designate where the funds go. You need to protect your legal rights and representing yourself is not the way to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/11/2011
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    Assuming there is a signed settlement agreement already in place, if distribution of funds are delayed until after your passing, they would end up being paid to your estate, and distributed in accordance with your will.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/11/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney