It is an unfortunate fact of life that, sometimes, a sudden receipt of a large sum of money brings about people seeking a portion of those funds. Perhaps it is a lottery win, a sizable inheritance, or a money judgment in a civil trial. If you’ve lost a loved one due to the misconduct of others, there are many steps that go into obtaining a successful outcome that can benefit from the assistance of an experienced Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney. Making sure that the proceeds of a court judgment go to the proper people is just one of them.
An example of such a situation played out in the family of a Philadelphia-area woman named Shireeta. Shireeta’s seven-year-old daughter, Lamiyah, died in a house fire in December 2011. After Lamiyah’s death, the mother filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of a curling iron and a power strip that, she claimed, were faulty and caused the fire. Shireeta, who was also the administrator of Lamiyah’s estate, eventually settled with the defendants. The defendants made an $8 million payout as part of the settlement.
As is true of many children, Lamiyah didn’t have a will. The law has a certain set of rules, called the rules of intestate succession, which dictate how assets should be distributed in cases in which the deceased person has no will. Generally, in most situations, the rules require that a child’s assets go 50-50 to each of her parents. In this case, that would have meant that Shireeta and Lamiyah’s father, Lamont, would split the settlement money equally.