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What is Settlement Planning?

Settlement Planning is a comprehensive holistic approach to helping plaintiffs and their counsel move through the financial transition resulting from a major life event. The financial planning decisions that must be made are unique to the transition and requires experience, patience, empathy and the ability to educate. Settlement planning IS NOT just about selling a product.

Settlement Planning encompasses learning about client’s needs and goals by asking the right questions, providing education to enable clients to make informed decisions, and developing recommended strategies and solutions to help clients both maximize and protect their lawsuit recovery. Through skill and experience we can often help a client crystallize their objectives at a time when the plaintiff may be cognizant of the importance of the decisions required but (1) may not find it easy to focus due to the emotional overlay from a protracted course of litigation; (2) may not find it easy to focus because the grieving process is still too raw (3) may initially lack the degree of sophistication necessary to identify a flawed approach when they encounter one; (4) may feel overwhelmed by an enormous amount of pressure put on them by their attorney to make a decision; (5) may be overwhelmed by competing interests within their own families; (6) may not want to let go; (7) may be affected by a combination of the above or other factors.

Watch John Darer's podcast on Settlement Planning (left). An understanding of settlement planning process is also critical to insurance companies involved in complex litigation. One or more of the above reasons may affect your ability to close out a file for your insured, or for the following market. Employing a settlement planner, or recommending to your adversary that they engage a settlement planner, may help keep things moving along. The public relations value of this approach is under estimated.

A settlement planner is a financial advisory team member who can provide advice and assistance in a variety of new ways to design the optimal plan for distribution of plaintiffs' and attorneys' settlement proceeds and to guide the individuals and/or their attorneys through the plan and its implementation

4structures.com® LLC President John Darer® CLU ChFC MSSC RSP CLTC was the first settlement planner in the United States to earn the professional designation of Registered Settlement Planner and is a Sudden Money® Advisor.

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Read a Reprint of John Darer’s article on Settlement Planning published in the Connecticut Law Tribune May 25, 2009.

Mr. Darer and those who have earned the designation show a serious commitment to the field of settlement planning through the completion of two graduate level courses offered through Texas Tech University Personal Financial Planning Division and the preparation of a comprehensive settlement plan that must be vetted by the Registry of Settlement Planners Board and subscribing to the RSP Code of Ethics. According to the Texas Tech course description those who complete the RSP program should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a mastery of the legal environment as it relates to planning for the needs of personal injury victims and their families.
  • Demonstrate a mastery of the financial planning environment as it relates to planning for the needs of personal injury victims and their families.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the entire settlement planning process from defining the scope of the engagement to creating a settlement plan.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of dissipation risk in a settlement plan.
  • Acquire knowledge of the ethical issues and practice standards faced by settlement planners.
  • Acquire the ability to practice in the area of settlement planning without supervision.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the tax issues faced in settlement planning.
  • Prepare and present a written comprehensive settlement plan for a catastrophically injured client.

At 4structures.com, LLC, we passionately believe that the settlement planning discussion should only be engaged with competent, properly trained and credentialed practitioners.

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