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Q&A: What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need?

Question:
“When I was a child I received a structured settlement from a dentist injury and when I turned 18 I was supposed to get my money and it went to my mom’s account. I have yet to see any of it and I want my money. Please help me out.”

Answer:
This is somewhat complicated.

The money from your structured settlement was, obviously, intended for you. And more likely than not, your settlement was subject to court approval and a conservator was appointed by the court (perhaps it was your mom?). In any event, it is the conservator’s legal obligation to oversee your property and protect it, and the court retains jurisdiction to deal with conservators who do not properly safeguard property.

Your case is puzzling because, now that you are at the age of majority and assuming it is indeed the time for your to receive settlement checks from the company underwriting the structure (i.e., those payments do not necessarily begin on your 18th birthday), those checks should have come directly to you and been made payable to you — not your mother.

Have you contacted the structure company to find out where they sent your money?

If, indeed, your money was sent to the wrong person (such as your mother), you may have a claim against the structure company, the conservator and/or your mother for the return of the money. You will want to move quickly to figure out who has your funds and/or seek the court’s involvement (i.e., you will want to file an appropriate motion with the court who has jurisdiction over your conservatorship). Perhaps a call to the attorney who helped you get the settlement in the first place?

Good luck.

Geoffrey Trachtenberg
Levenbaum Trachtenberg
(602) 271-0183

Geoff Trachtenberg is a partner at Levenbaum Trachtenberg, a personal injury law firm located in Arizona, California, and Utah. You can find him on and Avvo discussing law and helping people with their legal needs.

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