Here is what you need to know when the other parent dies from an auto accident. Let me set up some general situation that I see coming up time and time again. Two people have a child, but the two adult parents never marry or may even get divorced. One of the parents dies as a result of an accident. The accident could be from a motorcycle, car, truck, ATV, pedestrian or other means. For purposes of this blog how they died makes little difference. The one parent is now solely responsible for the child and more importantly the child’s financial support. As most parents are acutely aware trying to pay child rearing expenses on only one paycheck is nearly impossible. So what should you do?
First admit to yourself that you can’t do this alone. Second sit down and jot down an estimate of a few major future expense like summer camps, piano lessons, dance lessons, soccer fees and college tuition. Then perform a napkin calculation of what you bring home and multiply that number over a ten year period. You will see that it doesn’t really add up.
What should you as the surviving parent do and what can you do?
First you should hire a lawyer to pursue the personal injury claims the child has for loss of support from the now deceased parent. If the relatives of the other parent do not intend to open an estate then your personal injury lawyer will make arrangements to have an estate opened. If your child’s wrongful death claim is the most important asset then chances are you can be appointed as the administrator or executor of the father’s estate, even if you were never married. This is important because it gives you control over your child’s wrongful death or personal injury claim. At the conclusion of the case you the lawyer will then open a conservatorship and have you appointed to be in charge of the settlement money. This allows you to have funds set aside for all those expenses you had anticipated receiving financial help from the other parent.
Hopefully this makes sense. Call us if we can help you with your wrongful death claim.