When the minor becomes an adult at age 18, the Disabled Person's Estate will be closed. One of two things will happen. If that minor is capable of making personal and financial decisions as an adult, the Estate is closed and the balance of the money is given to the 18 year old. If that minor is incapable of making personal and financial decisions on their own behalf, a new estate is opened - a Disabled Person's Estate. A judge is again assigned to oversee the financial decisions, and to some extent, the personal decisions made on behalf of the disabled adult, such as, where they live.
The estates of children who have had a malpractice case can be quite large. It is usually worrisome for a parent, as well the Judge who has been overseeing the Minor's Estate, to hand over large sums of money to an 18 year old. I would have been very worried about turning over large sums of money of to my own children when they were 18, had the come into a lot of money at that age. What I have done in these situations is introduce the minor and the parents to a financial advisor about 6 months before the 18th birthday. We begin discussing the advantages to having a professional money manager on board. Frankly, this is the same advice I give to my adult clients at the end of a case, when money is distributed following the resolution of a lawsuit. With the guidance of the financial advisor and the parents, almost all of my minor clients have managed their money well and have continued to have a large financial portfolio to this day.
This post picks up from where Angelina's Story - Who gets the money when the client is a child? left off. I will write additional posts about what happens after the case is over, because for you the client, the end of the case is just the beginning.