Absolutely not. The money is the child's money. It should not be used "for the rest of the family". It is the child that was injured and it is the child that should get the proceeds of the settlement. There is a fiduciary responsibility in the law that must be followed.
Attorney Brinkmeier is 100% correct. The best way to address the settlement is to lock it down in a trust or custodial account to be distributed or used otherwise by the child or for the child's benefit after the age of 18. These is the child's funds. I have actually had people in their 20s come to my office asking me what they can do when they realized they were injured as children but the parents used the money for themselves. Do not put yourself in that position.
This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.
Usually the answer is a clear no. Often, the judge controls how funds are used, depending on the order drafted. Check with your attorney for guidance on this before doing anything.
Whoa! Let's hold the show, here and not be so "ABSOLUTE"!
The real answer is "Maybe...but it depends." One thing it depends upon is how much money the child is getting.
True, in Illinois the proceeds of a minor's settlement are intended for the benefit of the minor. If the minor's share of the settlement is less than $10,000.00, then the court is typically petitioned to allow the parent[s] to supervise and spend the money for the benefit of the child, within their discretion. Larger sums will require probate court supervision until the child reaches 18 years of age, at which time the money is his/hers to do with as he/she chooses.
The larger the net settlement to the child, the more supervision, but also the greater likelihood that some of the money can be spent for essentials that benefit the minor.
Even where the court supervises the money, a parent or guardian can petition for expenditures for particular purposes for the child's benefit. It is not outside the realm of possibility, for example, that where a child has a sizeable sum and the family wants the child to not have to live in deplorable conditions, that some of the money could be authorized to facilitate a move to a better neighborhood or apartment. Other things that might benefit the child and --indirectly--the family could be a computer with internet connection, IF you can support the CHILD'S need, including with school personnel, etc.
The court will be very careful to not spend the child's money frivolously. But some things that are in the child's interests may also have the side effect of benefiting others in the family. The court will NOT look at the child's settlement money as being the source to cure other family members' difficulties or concerns. Again, it is the CHILD'S money.
Talk to your personal injury lawyer about this. They should know the answers. I hope this was helpful.
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