Once you have reached a tentative settlement agreement with the insurance company, you need to file an application to approve minor settlement with the probate court in the county in which the child lives. The Court will then hold a hearing (either formal or informal) to review the application and decide whether the settlement is in the child’s best interest or not (they almost always approve the application). After the hearing, if the settlement is approved, the court will require that the net proceeds to the child are deposited in a restricted bank account that cannot have funds withdrawn without court approval until the child turns 18 years old. There will be paperwork that the bank needs to be filled out upon deposit and that will have to be filed with the probate court proving that the funds have been deposited in an appropriate account. Additionally, if the net proceeds to the child exceeds $25,000, the court will require that a guardian be appointed to manage the child’s assets until he/she reaches the age of majority. Often times, a parent is the one appointed as guardian, unless evidence is presented to the court that the parent is not fit to be guardian of the child’s assets.
As a side note, the insurance company should be the one paying the court costs associated with filing the application to approve minor settlement. Also, you cannot sign a release with the insurance company on behalf of your child until the court has approved the settlement. Any release that is signed before court approval may be deemed invalid, since Ohio law requires court approval of all minor settlements.
Best of luck to you.
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