Structured Settlement Cash and Working With a Broker

If you were a claimant in a lawsuit and were awarded monetary damages, you may have agreed to a structure settlement instead of one large lump sum payment. This payment provides regular installment payments to you over time. This type of financial agreement has many advantages and was beneficial to you at the time that it was set up. However, it is possible that circumstances changed, and you need a large lump sum payment to meet new financial obligations. It is possible to sell your settlement amount and the best way to do that is through a broker.

If you are currently receiving installment payments because you agreed to a settlement, and now you are in need of a greater sum of cash, you can sell your structured settlement and receive structured settlement cash. You can choose to sell the entire structured settlement for one lump sum minus the fee that will be charged to complete the deal by a structured settlement broker, or you can sell only a portion of the structured settlement. In that case, you will continue to receive installment payments for the monetary amount that remains part of the structured settlement. You will receive a lump sum payment for the part of the structured settlement that you sell.

When you get structured settlement cash, it is like getting an advance on the money that is owed to you. The broker charges a fee for his services that can range from 10% to 50% of the money you want advanced. However, even though you are receiving your money at a discounted rate, you now have the use of that money immediately.

Personal injury lawsuits often involve settlements for very large sums of cash. Cases involving medical malpractice and wrongful death can often have settlements that range in amount from six to seven figures. These large settlements can have major tax ramifications so it is beneficial to the claimant to receive these funds in installment payments over time. Structured settlement payments spread over time involve little or no tax at all. In addition, installment payments guarantee a steady flow of income on a regular basis. Many individuals find it easier to manage money in installments rather than receiving a large lump sum all at once.

Circumstances in your life can change, and you may find that the amount of money you receive on a regular basis from the structured settlement does not allow you to meet your obligations on larger bills such as the purchase of a new house or education expenses. If you receive structured settlement cash in a large lump sum, it will make it possible for you to meet these new financial obligations. In addition, you may notice that the installment payment amount is not keeping up with inflation, and you may decide that receiving cash now is better than receiving installment payments in the future.

If you decide that selling your settlement money is in your best interest, you need to find a reputable broker who can help you through the process. A broker acts as a consultant, provides an assessment, prepares calculations and plays an active role during negotiations to sell the structured settlement. The information that a good broker provides during negotiations helps both sides reach an equitable agreement.

To help the claimant, the broker prepares a financial analysis and then determines the present value cost of the settlement. He or She provides expert support and information in calculations involving Medicaid and SSI as well as issues involving income tax. Because a great deal of financial expertise is required, apart from the brokers help your accountant or bank would be a good source for a recommendation.

As you work with a structured settlement broker, you should find out what the total cost of selling the settlement payment will be and how long it will take to sell the same. It is important for you to have multiple deals to choose from so make sure your broker can provide details about multiple opportunities. This will help insure that you are getting the best deal possible. Throughout this selling process, it is vitally important that the channels of communication between you and your broker be open. You should be able to communicate with your broker easily and often, if necessary.

You should retain the services of a qualified broker who is registered with the United States Department of Justice. These settlements are set up by the courts and each state has its own laws. In addition, there are federal guidelines that must be followed under the tax code. You can receive structured settlement cash when you sell your structured settlement, but the process requires court approval. Complicated transactions like selling a structured settlement should always be reviewed by an attorney who will represent your best interests.

It is important to research the broker’s qualifications and experience. The broker you choose should be registered with the United States Department of Justice and be affiliated with at least one insurance company. The Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice actually publishes a “List of Annuity Brokers Who Meet Minimum Qualifications for Providing Annuity Brokerage Services in Connection with these settlements. The list for any specified year is in effect until it is replaced by another update. This list of brokers is alphabetical by their last name and provides the city and state where they are located.

Getting Quick Cash for Your Structured Settlement

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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.

Receiving cash for a structured settlement is an ideal option if you need a lump sum of money to meet your immediate needs.

David Springer is a consultant for Sovereign Funding Group. Sovereign Funding

Financial Security through Structured Settlements

Structured settlements have become a natural part of personal injury and worker’s compensation claims in the United States, according to the National Structured Settlements Trade Association (NSSTA). In 2001, life insurance members of NSSTA wrote more than $6.05 billion of issued annuities as settlement for physical injury claims. This represents a 19 percent increase over 2000.

A structured settlement is the dispersement of money for a legal claim where all or part of the arrangement calls for future periodic payments. The money is paid in regular installments–annually, semi-annually or quarterly–either for a fixed period or for the lifetime of the claimant. Depending on the needs of the individual involved, the structure may also include some immediate payment to cover special damages. The payment is usually made through the purchase of an annuity from a Life Insurance Company.

A structured settlement structure can provide long-term financial security to injury victims and their families through a stream of tax-free payments tailored to their needs. Historically, they were first utilized in Canada and the United States during the 1970s as an alternative to lump-sum payments for injured parties. A structured settlement can also be used in situations involving lottery winnings and other substantial funds.

How a Structured Settlement Works
When a plaintiff settles a case for a large sum of money, the defendant, the plaintiff’s attorney, or a financial planner may propose paying the settlement in installments over time rather than in a single lump sum.

A structured settlement is actually a tradeoff. The individuals who were injured and/or their parents or guardians work with their lawyer and an outside broker to determine future medical and living needs. This includes all upcoming operations, therapy, medical devices and other health care needs. Then, an annuity is purchased and held by an independent third party that makes payments to the person who has been injured. Unlike stock dividends or bank interest, these structured settlement payments are completely tax-free. What’s more, the individual’s annuity grows tax-free.

Pros and Cons

As with anything, there’s a positive and negative side to structure settlements. One significant advantage is tax avoidance. When appropriately set up, a structured settlement may significantly reduce the plaintiff’s tax obligations (as a result of the settlement). Another benefit is that a structured settlement can help ensure a plaintiff has the funds to pay for future care or needs. In other words, a structured settlement can help protect a plaintiff from himself.

Let’s face it: Some people have a hard time managing money, or saying no to friends and family wanting to “share the wealth.” Receiving money in installment can make it last longer.

A downside to structure settlements is the built-in structure (no pun intended). Some people may feel restricted by periodic payments. For example, they may want to buy a new home or other expensive item, yet lack the funds to do so. They can’t borrow against future payments under their settlement, so they’re stuck until their next installment payment arrives.
And from an investment perspective, a structured settlement may not make the most sense for everyone. Many standard investments can provide a greater long-term return than the annuities used in structured settlements. So some people may be better off accepting a lump sum settlement and then investing it for themselves.

Here are some other important points to keep in mind about structured settlements: An injured person with long-term special needs may benefit from having periodic lump sums to purchase medical equipment. Minors may benefit from a structured settlement that provides for certain costs when they’re young–such as educational expenses–instead of during adulthood.

Special Considerations

- Injured parties should be wary of potential exploitation or hazards related to structured settlements. They should carefully consider:

- High Commissions – Annuities can be highly profitable for insurance companies, and they often carry very large commissions. It is important to ensure that the commissions charged in setting up a structured settlement don’t eat up too much of its principal.

- Inflated Value – Sometimes, the defense will overstate the value of a negotiated structured settlement. As a result, the plaintiff winds up with much less than was agreed upon. Plaintiffs should compare the fees and commissions charged for similar settlement packages by a variety of insurance companies to make sure that they’re getting full value.

- Conflict of Interest – There have been situations where the plaintiff’s attorney has referred the client to a particular financial planner to set up a structured settlement, without disclosing he would receive a referral fee. In other cases, the plaintiff’s lawyer has set up a structured settlement on behalf of a client without revealing the annuities are being purchased from his own insurance business. Plaintiffs should know what financial interest their lawyer may have in relation to any financial services being provided or recommended.

Structured Settlements – Do You Pay Taxes on a Structured Settlement?

Sometimes if a claimant is a case for a large sum of money, the defendant, the lawyer for the plaintiff, or consult a financial planner in cooperation with the settlement, the payment of the settlement in installments over time rather than an amount. Where arrangements are paid in this way is a structured settlement. Often purchasing one or more annuities will create the structured settlement, which is to guarantee the future payments.

A structured solution may provide for the payment in almost all the plans of the parties to choose. So the system can be paid in annual installments for several years, or it can be paid in periodic lump sums every few years.

Benefits of A Structured Settlement

An important advantage of a structured settlement is tax evasion. With the right set-up, a structured settlement can significantly reduce the fiscal obligations of the plaintiff as a result of the settlement and, in some cases, is exempt from tax.

A structured settlement can protect a plaintiff who disappeared settlement funds when they are needed to pay for the future care or needs. Sometimes it can help protect a plaintiff from ones – some people are just not good with money, or can’t say no to family members who want to share the wealth, and even a large settlement can be quickly exhausted. Minors can benefit from a structured settlement also, as a rule for certain expenditure during their youth, an additional fee to pay for college or other educational expenses, and then one or more payments at adult age. A wounded person on the term, special needs may benefit from regular flat-rate amounts that medical equipment or modified vehicles to buy.

In some situations, the better for a severely disabled claimant to a special needs trust, instead of entering into a lump sum or structured settlement. Any plaintiff, who has received or expected Medicaid or other public assistance, or the guardian or curator received in entering a settlement on behalf of a Department with a disability, should consult with a financial planner about their situation a disability to choose a particular option or system structure.

Possible disadvantages of Structured Settlements

Some people who enter into structured settlements feel trapped by the periodic payments. Maybe they want a new house or other expensive post, but do not have the means, because they can’t borrow against future payments under their settlement.

Some people will do better by acceptance of a standard system, and invest it you. Many standard investments are a greater efficiency in the term than the annuity in structured settlements.

How to sell Structured Settlement Online

A structured settlement cans a person for compensation for the loss of the monthly or annual way to deadline. This period shall be decided on the judgment and cannot be changed without the prior consent of the judge. The alternative to periodic premium is a lump sum at a time and in such circumstances, the third-party who arranged the purchase of the plan and pays a lot of money to the beneficiary of the policy.

The sale deal can be done by means of online transactions, but it’s better to have some of the formalities of the deal say that it can be sold through online transaction.

It’s easy to find a structured solution by simple online calculator to find the specific keywords. This calculator helps you to specifically define the exact value of the annuity value of the structured settlement plan. But one must remember when the annuity value is calculated as a pre-term price would be 50%-65% less. Depending on the average price, it is better to decide on the sale of a part or the entire sales of structured settlement annuity amount.

Finding a reliable company that can purchase the structured settlement plan is again easily by simple search. The websites of the companies are available online and the websites of the negotiations can be done and as an experienced real estate agent is involved in this transaction can also coordinate the whole thing more quickly and professionally. Meticulous search online will help you to different companies assessed by a comparison and choose the best offer with a reputation for caring.

It takes time to get money in the hand when the structured settlement plan will be amended with the approval of the judiciary. Between the companies that the contract will cover all of the formalities and the recipient can expect the money in hand to get through the next 60-90 days.

Sale of A Structured Settlement

If you have a structured solution, you will be contacted by a company interested in purchasing your system, or are curious about the sale of your company in exchange for a fixed amount buyout. About two-thirds of the States have laws governing the sale of structured settlements adapted to limit and the tax-free structured settlements also are subject to the Federal restrictions on sales to third parties. Also some insurance companies will not assign or transfer to third parties, in respect to discourage the sale of structured settlements. As a result, depending on where you live and the terms of your annuity, it is not possible to sell your solution.

Note that companies that purchase structured settlements of plan to take advantage of their purchase, and sometimes their offerings may seem rather low. You can take advantage of the approaching more than an undertaking in relation to the sale of your solution, in order to ensure that the highest payoff. You also want to make sure that the company will buy your settlement is established, – you don’t want a fly-by-night outfit to the rights to your annuity to obtain, but to disappear or go bankrupt before you pay the buyout money. You may have to go to court before a judge to approve buyout. It is usually a good idea to consult with a lawyer before entering into an agreement to sell your solution.

Special considerations for the sale of A Structured Settlement Any person entering into a structured system must be wary of the potential exploitation in connection with the settlement:

Excessive commissions – annuity can be very profitable for insurance companies, and they often have very large orders. It is important to ensure that the committees responsible for the creation of a structured settlement not too much of its main consuming.

Exaggerated value – sometimes, after negotiating a settlement figure, will defend the overvaluation of the value of a structured settlement. As a result of the plaintiff in the acceptance of the settlement, actually obtains a substantially lower dollar value than was agreed. Some suspects have paid the full nominal amount of the settlement, knowing that later would get significant discounts from the annuity companies that use them. Prosecutors consider comparing fees and commissions for similar arrangements through a variety of insurance packages, to ensure that they actually get full value. The plaintiff wishes to make it a condition of the scheme that the accused actually the full value of the settlement to be paid on the designing of the structured settlement, and that any discounts received by the defendant in the scheme for annuities paid to the plaintiff.

Create yourself – there are cases where the plaintiff’s Attorney in the insurance and suggests a structured settlement on behalf of a client that does not disclose that the lawyer is to the annuity to buy the farm, or a large Pocket Commission on annuity. There are also situations where the lawyer of the plaintiff refers the client has given a financial planner to set up a structured solution, without the financial planner, notary a referral fee in connection with the account of the paying customer. Make sure you know what financial interest, if applicable, your solicitor has compared each financial services sold or recommended by the lawyer.

Life – it is a pity, but many people get great personal damage or compensation of workers settlements has a shortened life expectancy as a result of their injuries. It is important to the life expectancy in combination with a structured settlement, to study and consider the desirability of an annuity in which payments will stop after death. Sometimes it is useful to insist on an annuity that a minimum number of payments or who pays the balance in the legacy of the plaintiff, so that the value of the settlement is not lost from an insurance company in the early death of the claimant pays.

Multiple insurance companies – for larger settlements, it often makes sense to buy an annuity-structured settlement from different companies, the share of the arrangement between these companies. This can provide protection in the event that a company that has issued your annuity settlement package goes bankrupt – even in the event that one of the companies in arrears, in whole or in part, on your settlement payments, you still have a full payment of the other companies.

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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