Takoma Park, MD asked in Antitrust for Maryland

Q: Is the need for a house to home school a child and purchase school necessities a good reason to do a petition on a trus

It is a pandemic and kida are home. I'm a dialysis patient. My kids are home from school. I can't send them back because if they get sick I get sick and I dont want to risk my life. My son received a settlement from a dog bite. I have to open a trust account for him and he is 12.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: First, the Maryland Recovery by Minor in Tort Act only applies to recoveries in excess of $5,000, but if the settlement meets that threshold, then the funds must be deposited into a special account by the bank and held until your child reaches the age of 18, when it is paid over solely to him. The only way to withdraw any proceeds early requires a petition filed in the circuit court of the location where the money is on deposit. Section 13-406 of the Maryland Estates and Trust Code provides, in relevant part:

(a) A trustee shall file a petition for withdrawal of any of the money of the minor in the original court action or in the equity court in the county where the money is on deposit.

(b)(1) The petition shall be verified and state in detail the purposes for which the withdrawal of the money is desired.

(2) On receiving a petition, the court shall make any inquiry necessary before granting or denying the petition in whole or in part.

(c) If money is desired for any purpose other than to pay for medical expenses of the minor, or to further the education of the minor, including reasonable expenditures for room and board, the court shall require a strong showing of necessity by the trustee in a hearing.

Although you characterize the withdrawal as for education, you must be careful that you are net generally applying his settlement funds to pay for your rent/mortgage, food, utilities, and other household expenses that generally benefit you and his siblings in the household, which is what I suspect a court will find you are doing based on your description. You have the obligation to support and pay for your child and not use his tort recovery for that purpose. If you are required to purchase specific educational materials for home schooling your son (e.g., the 4th grade curriculum if he is in the 4th grade), then you might be able to earmark such a specific expenditure.

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