Just south of Great Falls, Montana, Sandy and Lawrence Foreman-Kenik are grappling with the reality that very soon, their retirement plans are going to fall apart, thanks to a sharp decrease in payments to Sandy’s structured settlement annuity. The cuts are part of the liquidation plan set for the Executive Life Insurance Company of New York.
Sandy’s first husband, John Foreman, suffered a critical brain injury in 1982 as a result of an automotive accident. He would go on to live for another 25 years, but with the mind of a three-year-old child, requiring constant care and oversight. Sandy sued over John’s injuries, but the terms of her settlement forbid her from talking about any details as to what caused John’s injuries or what parties might have been involved.
The monetary aspect of her settlement was in the form of a structured settlement annuity, which was the only option presented to her. Faced with the need for a steady income stream so she could raise her and John’s three children, Sandy accepted the offer. By this time, Sandy had married her second and current husband, Lawrence.
“I was just happy she didn’t have to worry about raising her kids,” Lawrence says of the structured settlement offer. “Maybe I should have asked more questions or gotten more involved. But I was told “This is the best way to do it, and this is what we’re going to do.”
After John had been in a hospital for over a year, Sandy and Lawrence took him to rehabilitation centers, which were extremely expensive.
“One of the places we went to was $16,000 a month and after three months, they said they couldn’t keep taking our money because John was not going to get any better,” Sandy says. The money for this treatment cleaned out John’s settlement, and the remaining costs Sandy paid for out of her own settlement. What was left over, she used to raise her kids. The terms of her settlement also prohibit her from disclosing how much her settlement is worth.
John still needed intense care, however, so Sandy and Lawrence used a sizeable portion of her payment income to build a kind of nursing center for John so they could take care of him from their own home. Sandy had been a nurse before John’s injury; now he was her only patient.