Getting Quick Cash for Your Structured Settlement

Just because you received a structured settlement for your lawsuit, it doesn’t mean you have to wait for years to get the money. There are many settlement purchasing companies that will give you instant cash for your structured settlement. These companies can pay cash for the entire structured settlement or purchase your remaining periodic settlement payments. You can spend this lump-sum payment on anything-a house, college tuition, business investments or debts.

What Is a Structured Settlement?

A structured settlement, which typically results from a personal injury lawsuit, is an agreement where you consent to accept payments over time in exchange for the release of liability for your claim. A structured settlement can provide payments in almost any manner you choose. For example, the settlement may be paid in annual installments over a number of years or in periodic payouts every few years.

These payments are generally awarded through the purchase of one or more annuities from a life insurance company. Structured settlements can also be used with lottery winnings, contest prize money and other situations with substantial cash awards.

Structured Settlements Not Always the Best Fit

In theory, structured settlements are designed to provide long-term financial security to injury victims through tax-free payments. And for most people, the agreed-upon structured payment plan initially makes sense. However, a financial emergency, a business opportunity, an unforeseen medical expense, or a house purchase can put a strain on the injured party’s finances.

And the structured nature of the settlement may become too restrictive to cover major financial purchases. Also, a structured settlement may not be the best option for investing. There are many other investment vehicles that can generate greater long-term return than the annuities used in structured settlements. Therefore, some people may be better off getting cash for their structured settlement and then building their own investment portfolio.

How Getting Cash for a Structured Settlement Works

If you receive an award from your injury case, an attorney or financial advisor will likely recommend setting up periodic installment payments instead of giving you a lump sum of cash up front for your structured settlement. Then, an independent third party will purchase an annuity that will provide you with tax-free periodic payments.

Companies that offer cash for structured settlements have a variety of programs that can allow you to access any portion of your annuity. For example, you may want to sell as little as four year’s worth of payments or receive a lump-sum payment while still enjoying some portion of your monthly payment. Or you can sell your settlement for a large payment that is five or six years in the future. You can also customize an arrangement to get cash for a structured settlement based on your unique needs.

Here’s an example of how obtaining cash for a structured settlement works: Let’s say you were in an accident five years ago. The accident caused you to be hospitalized for several months and undergo nearly a year’s worth of physical therapy. So you hired an attorney and sued the responsible individual-or, rather, the person’s insurance company. Ultimately, your attorney advises you that you’ll be awarded a substantial sum of money.

After several months or years of negotiation, you receive a sizable settlement. However, the cash you get upfront is only enough to cover the medical expenses. The rest of your compensation is scheduled to be paid out in regular installments through an annuity over the next 15 to 30 years. Rather than being restricted to monthly or annual payments, you contact a settlement purchaser to secure immediate cash for your structured settlement. You’re then able to use the cash to enhance your current cash flow-rather than waiting on periodic future payments.

Legal Issues of Receiving Cash for a Structured Settlement

If you’re contemplating getting cash for your structured settlement, it’s important to contact a financial advisor. Most states have regulations that limit the sale of structured settlements, so you’ll need court approval to receive cash for your structured settlement. Federal restrictions also may affect the sale of structured settlements to a third-party individual. And some insurance companies won’t transfer annuities to third parties.

Also, before you attempt to obtain cash for a structured settlement, be sure to do your homework. Check out multiple companies to see which one can offer you the most cash for your structured settlement. You also want to examine their integrity, reputation and track record. This will help ensure you have the most positive experience obtaining cash for your structured settlement.

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Is It Time To Sell Your Structured Settlement Payments?

Structured settlements are financial agreements allowing compensation to be paid through an annuity in regularly scheduled payments, for either a fixed period of time or for the life of the claimant. Since it is suitable for individual plaintiffs, the structured settlement may also include an up front payment to cover any contingency.

Structured settlement payments are normally funded by annuities. These annuities are established to protect recipients of legal awards, insurance settlements, and lottery winnings. A great percentage of structured settlements are prearranged to provide for long term care and living expenses of plaintiffs who have been injured and are unable to work.

Structured settlements have not always been accessible. The Periodic Payment Settlement Act of 1982 was enacted to make large awards more agreeable to all parties and protect claimants. It also affords the insurance company and the plaintiff certain tax advantages.

Some situations are well suited for a structured settlement. For example: Cases that involve catastrophic injuries Wrongful death lawsuits that include replacing the lost income of the deceased Disabilities, either permanent or those requiring extensive recovery time Workers Compensation cases Gambling and lottery winnings

Many people choose a structured settlement over a lump sum payment, and courts often award them in civil actions where there are long term living and health care expenses. The anticipated need of cash at some future date is taken into account when setting up a structured settlement agreement.

Structured settlements can be established in a number of ways, according to the needs of the damaged party. The most basic structured settlements provide regular periodic payments for the life of the agreement; for example, a fixed payment every month for 10 years. Structured settlements do not pay interest, so anticipated gains in the underlying annuity are factored into the amount of the periodic payments and are non-taxable.

Claimants choose structured settlement agreements over lump sum awards for a number of reasons. The idea of guaranteed regular payments offers a feeling of security for many people who have been injured and are unable to earn a steady income. Instead of having to worry about how to invest a large cash award, the details are handled by the attorneys and the insurance company.

An important benefit of a structured settlement agreement is that it is tax free. The tax consequences of receiving a lump sum of cash can be staggering, turning what seemed like a fortune into an amount that may not meet future living expenses. A structured settlement relieves the claimant of the responsibility of planning a tax shelter for their award.

Because of the many benefits structured settlements offer both plaintiffs and defendants, the case can often be settled out of court, saving both parties a great deal of expense. Since the agreement is beneficial to both parties, the process is usually completed quickly, and there is no time lost to a prolonged battle in court.

There are some cases for which structured settlements are not suitable. An award for a minor injury sustained in an accident would probably not warrant the use of a structured settlement. In situations where extended hospitalization or long term treatment is not necessary, a lump sum award may be sufficient to provide for the needs of the damaged party.

Once a structured settlement agreement is enacted, the terms are fixed, and there is no allowance made for unanticipated circumstances. This is one reason many people choose to sell their structured settlement payments. Life situations change, and people may decide to buy a different home, start a business, or return to school and train for a new career. A lump sum of cash offers greater flexibility and more control over the money than a structured settlement.

Perhaps the most persuasive argument for selling structured settlement payments is that over time, inflation can severely erode the value of the periodic payments. A dollar today is worth more than the same dollar in the future. A lump sum of cash properly invested today could surpass the future value of a structured settlement.

When selling your structured settlement payments, you can choose to cash in only a portion of your future payments. This option offers immediate cash, while preserving some of the long term security of a structured settlement. If you decide to cash in a structured settlement, sell only the portion of your future payments necessary to meet your financial need.

Finally, you should carefully choose a structured settlement buyer that has been in business for at least several years. Check out potential buyers with the Better Business Bureau, and do some research to determine if past customers have been pleased with the company’s services. Doing the research now will insure that you get the most cash for your structured settlement.

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