“Above and Beyond.” We take our motto seriously here at ESS and we’d like to share one way we do just that for clients. We usually meet people after they’ve come into a large sum of money after a catastrophic accident or under drastic circumstances and we do everything in our power to ensure their financial security.
A structured settlement, also known as a qualified structured annuity is an important tool, but it’s not the only tool.
We always say that the two biggest mistakes you can make in setting up a structured settlement and settlement plan are not putting enough money into the structure or putting too much money into the structure. Most clients should have enough money in cash for immediate wants, needs and expenses. We can help determine this amount by analyzing the clients’ situation in terms of family, income, education, retirement, health care and government eligibility for needs-based programs, such as Medicaid.
But we often found when we revisited our clients several years later that all of that up-front money was gone and the client was relying exclusively on the money in the structured settlement. This was troubling because it meant that while most of their living expenses were taken care of, they didn’t have any security to cover emergencies or rising costs.
That is why we partnered with Excelsior Wealth Management, an elite asset management group from Morgan Stanley that helps high net worth individuals, including celebrities, to manage their assets. This partnership combines our structured settlement expertise with their financial management resources. We set up the structured settlement and Excelsior advises our clients on how to manage that up-front portion to preserve their principal and build wealth.
Working with Excelsior provides tremendous value to our clients — most of whom have never managed large sums of money — by surrounding them with the best team possible. Many people who abruptly attain a lot of money for the first time have no idea what to do with it and some fall victim to consumer predators and other schemes. Others simply deposit the money at the bank, where the branch financial manager, typically someone who does not have experience with the catastrophically injured, advises them.
Craig Pastolove, a member of the Excelsior team, wrote in an article for Worth Magazine, “Although the work is not pro bono, it feels as though we are making a real difference in these parties’ lives by providing services that historically have been unavailable to them.
“This is very different than planning for ultra-high net worth families because planning for injured parties can potentially impact whether or not they can pay for proper medical care or educate their children,” he added.
The feeling is mutual. We, at ESS recognize this important need for our clients and this partnership is just one of the many ways we go “above and beyond” to better serve our clients and the law firms that represent them.