Losing a loved one is emotionally devastating. Nothing can take that pain away. However, compensation through a wrongful death claim is your right.
You are dealing with enough as it is. Let a compassionate Oklahoma wrongful death lawyer help you with the steps. We can fight for justice for your loved one and help to provide you and your family with closure during this difficult time.
Weighing Your Payout Options in Oklahoma
If your attorney secures a settlement or court award, you will need to choose how the funds are paid out. There are two options that you can choose from. They are the following:
Lump Sum Payment
A lump sum gives plaintiffs complete control over using the funds as desired – whether investing, paying off debts, making purchases, or conserving it. Having immediate access to compensation provides funds at once to cover costs related to the loss. However, recipients must manage a large single disbursement prudently rather than blowing through it or mismanaging the money.
Any portion allocated as lost income or medical expenses may be taxable. Taxes can be avoided on amounts allocated towards non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Disputes may also arise among beneficiaries about how lump sum proceeds should be divided based on respective damages.
Beneficiaries get their entire settlement payout at once with a lump sum. However, financial education may be useful for budgeting responsibly, avoiding family disputes, and minimizing taxes. It is not uncommon for families to argue after receiving this money, so you should be prepared.
With a structured settlement, the settlement company makes incremental payments to beneficiaries over a set timeframe. Usually, this is 20 years, but it can vary. Considerations include:
Guaranteed periodic payments provide families with a steady income flow over time to cover ongoing living costs and offset lost future earnings. Structured payouts discourage quickly spending a lump sum and depleting the compensation too fast. Payments can be customized to match expected needs, like higher education expenses or retirement.
Recipients have less flexibility over structured funds compared to lump sums. There is also a risk, though rare, that the annuity company defaults on remaining payments. Insurance guarantees help mitigate this concern.
Our Team Is Here To Assist You Every Step Of The Way.SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY TODAY
Steps for Receiving Settlement Payouts in Oklahoma
Plaintiffs’ and defendants’ attorneys negotiate the total settlement amount based on expected damages and jury verdict averages. The lump sum vs. structured payment decision is also agreed upon. Even if no lawsuit was filed, the probate judge reviews the terms to ensure fairness before approving the settlement and distribution plan.
For structured settlements, the annuity schedule, amounts, colas, and service company need to be arranged. Lump sums simply require providing account details to deposit the funds. Beneficiaries sign documents releasing the defendant from further wrongful death claims related to the incident, which gives the defense legal protection once payments are made.
Once releases are signed, the court-approved funds are disbursed by the defendant either in a lump sum or initial structured payment. Lump sums must then be divided appropriately among beneficiaries by the estate’s personal representative. An experienced attorney will handle this process efficiently so you can focus on grieving and healing rather than getting mired in legal complexities and delays.
Factors that Determine Settlement Payout Amounts
Lost wages, benefits, services, expected inheritance, and other financial contributions the deceased would have made to survivors are calculated. Expert analysis quantifies future earning potential. Harder to quantify losses like mental anguish, loss of companionship, and grief counseling costs are tabulated for survivors.
The younger the deceased’s age, the greater their lost working years, which often yields higher settlements as future income loss accumulates. Larger pools of survivors generally increase settlement amounts, as damages must be compensated per beneficiary. If the deceased was partially negligent for the incident, damages get reduced by their percentage of fault under Oklahoma’s comparative negligence rules.
Gross negligence and other severe misconduct by defendants can amplify settlement amounts. Punitive damages may be awarded as punishment in egregious cases. Past similar wrongful death verdicts provide guidance on case valuation and reasonable settlement amounts.
Get A FREE No-Obligation Consultation Today!CONTACT US TODAY
Tax Considerations on Wrongful Death Settlements
Portions covering the deceased’s lost wages and medical expenses may be considered taxable income. Non-economic damages for pain and suffering are generally not taxable. Payments made directly to the estate before distribution can avoid taxes.
With structured settlements, the initial lump sum and any portions sold for cash may be taxable. The scheduled periodic payments are income tax-free. Detailed allocation provided by your attorney optimizes tax treatment of the settlement.
Make sure you keep good records. Be aware that state laws may also impose taxes on settlement proceeds. Understanding the tax implications lets your beneficiaries maximize their final payout.
You Need An Attorney Who Has The Experience And Skill To Help You.Call (866) 800 9660
When Family Members Try to Get Some of the Payout
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for family disputes to arise when significant wrongful death settlement funds are being distributed. Greed can cause some beneficiaries or extended family members to try to secure a piece of the proceeds. It is important to know what to do in this situation.
For example, estranged relatives may suddenly reappear. They may make claims once they learn of a large pending settlement. Even beneficiaries named in the settlement may argue over percentage splits and feel owed more than their allocation
It is critical to understand that the settlement amount belongs to the estate. They are meant to compensate losses suffered by the deceased’s lawful heirs, as determined by state probate laws and courts. The settlement terms legally dictate distribution, not family demands.
Work with an Experienced Oklahoma Attorney
Navigating the legal and financial complexities of a wrongful death settlement payout can be overwhelming while grieving. An accomplished wrongful death attorney can handle the entire process while you focus on healing. They will fight to secure the maximum compensation for your family through settlement or trial.
Let a dedicated lawyer take care of all aspects, from court approval to fund disbursement, taxes, and more. Consider your payout options by scheduling a free consultation with a knowledgeable Oklahoma attorney today. With legal guidance, you can obtain the fair compensation your family deserves.
The Sooner We Get Involved, The More We Can Do To Help You.SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY TODAY