Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Trust stuff....part one

I really don't talk about this much here....but I have mentioned it recently:  Bossy's trust fund.

Doesn't that have a nice fund.....

I probably have told the story, but I am too lazy to look.  So the quick version is that Bossy was inpatient at the hospital when he was 3 yrs old.  His IV blew out in his hand, but the nurse failed to notice.  Even though the IV pump kept beeping....all anyone did was silence the alarm.  In the morning, Bossy's hand was black, and they couldn't get a pulse in his arm.....they did in his shoulder.  He was diagnosed with Compartment Syndrome, and immediately brought to surgery for a Fasciatomy.  I had to sign paperwork to amputate his arm if they couldn't restore blood flow.  I was told they would "try" to save the elbow, so he could have a more usable prosthetic down the road.

He was non-verbal at the time, and due to his paralyzed vocal chord, his "voice" was quiet and raspy.  Even if he was crying....they wouldn't have heard him.  Plus, he has an incredibly high pain tolerance.

In the end, his arm was saved.  He needed 4 surgeries, and now is the proud owner of a wicked scar (to match the many others).

Here are a few pictures.  The ones of his hand show all the damage to the skin from the swelling.  All his skin scabbed over and peeled off.  The later ones show all the stitches and the scar that was left when the stitches came out.  Over time, the scar has widened, despite doing myofascial release, Vitamin E, and countless other things.  The good thing is that the scar tissue hasn't impeded his elbow, and when his arms are at his don't really notice it much.

We sued the hospital for negligence (if the problem was caught earlier, this all wouldn't have happened), and ended up with a small settlement (relatively speaking....) 

So the money.....We actually got the check for the settlement in 2007.  We had a special needs trust drawn up to protect Bossy.  But we got the check right around the same time that my pregnancy was the check just sat there.  We knew we needed to do something with it...but we weren't in any position at that point to make decisions.  So it sat.

And it sat.  And sat.  Yes, it could have been earning interest.  But it sat.

Then in 2008, the market tanked.  And I was afraid to do anything with it.  So it sat.

By 2009, we were contacted by the law firm that we HAD to cash the check and get it off their books.  This was the same time we were working with the Financial Advisor.  So we opened an account for the money.  And it sat there.

We fired the Advisor shortly after, and then we had no idea what to do with the money.  We know nothing about investing.  So it sat in a "cash" account.

Any of you who are investing type people are probably hurling.  Yes, we lost time and interest.  Totally know it.  But I also tend to be one who won't move until I am sure.  And I wasn't sure.  So it sat.

Fast forward to 6 months ago.  Another advisor contacted us from the same office.  Basically, the owner of the business was trying to resurrect our business.  And this person was sort of the go-to person for messy cases.  She fully admitted she read the file and could see that things went wrong.  And she wanted to help us try again.

In the very least, her position was that even if we didn't want to work with someone on our personal stuff....the money in the trust was "losing" money everyday, and in the end....we should do something more with it than just let it sit.

So we met with her about 2 weeks ago, more as a meet and greet  She asked us questions that we simply didn't have answers to.  "When will you need to use this money?"  "What will this money be used for?"  "What other programs are available so you don't have to use this money?"

We just don't know....other than the most general answers.  The money will be used to take care of his needs as he gets older.  No idea what those needs will be in the future, or when this money will come into play.  Programs that are around now may not be around in 10 years, and there may be newer programs.  No idea if he will qualify for things.  It is all a total guess.

So armed with some pretty lame information......we agreed to meet again where she will present a portfolio to us.  More on that later.


  1. Oh my. Poor child, that's horrible. I am so glad they were able to revive the arm... but good Lord, that's some heavy oversight on someone that young. That is indeed quite a wicked scar.

  2. As I look at these pictures of your little guy at three with this horrific injury, I cry for him. I think that he was non-verbal at the time makes it that much worse. I hope they can earn your trust and do you right going forward.

  3. That is just horrible! The scar is something else too! Glad they saved his arm.

  4. It is hard to make financial decisions about unknown future possibilities. I hope this financial advisor can assist and hopefully you will find a good place for this fund to grow.

  5. I can totally relate. We had a special needs trust for two years before I funded it. It's analysis paralysis. I finally chose the most basic option: Vanguard Total Market Index Fund.

    Whatever you do, please make sure that you get a full accounting of all of the costs of any option including the fees.

  6. I think my comment was eaten by Wordpress!

    Oh my goodness; poor Bossy (and poor you guys as parents having to go through something like that.) I am still so shocked looking at those photos. I think an event like that would make the TV news here in Australia (or at least the women's glossy mags.) I hope you show the pics to the fund manager so they will take extra good care with managing his trust fund. (Fiona)