Sell Structured Settlement Payments – When It’s the Right Thing to Do

Sell Structured Settlement payments: When it’s the right thing to do

“Sell structured settlement payments” – this phrase, by itself, may not mean much to the average person. But put them together into a statement like: “I plan to sell my structured settlement payments” – and they create a controversial, emotionally loaded topic.

There are many reasons not to sell structured settlement payments

There are many reasons not to sell structured settlement payments. But there are also many reasons when, give the individual’s situation, it makes sense to sell structured a settlement annuity. Here are some common objections to that powerful phrase-sell structured settlement payments-and some circumstances when, even given the validity of the objection, it still can be smart to sell structured settlement payments.

Concern: Person does not want to damage total financial picture by removing a long-term, steady source of income.

Answer: If the annuitant will use the lump sum payment to invest in his or her income-producing future, such as for education or career training expenses or to start a business, it might be a smart decision to tap into the structured settlement. Each of these expenses-education, career training, business startup costs-should lead to a future stream of income that will replace the income lost as a result of the annuitant’s decision to sell structured settlement payments,

Also, if the annuitant uses the cash from selling a structured settlement to build, purchase or improve a home, he or she is actually making an investment in his or her way of life, family stability, and emotional state that will ultimately improve his or her long-term, overall future and ability to earn an income. Think about how much better positioned the person will be to pursue and hold a stable career or job when he or she has the peace of mind of owning a home, for example.

Finally, if selling structured settlement payments for cash allows the injured person to avoid foreclosure, pay down a mortgage, or pay off credit card debt, then the loss of long-term payments will likely be offset by the benefit of financial and emotional stability. Imagine how much more confident and focused the person will be in jobs, interviews and any other situation with the knowledge that he or she is debt-free and in good financial condition.

Might not get the most value for the settlement or might lose value by selling at today’s rates rather than future rates.

First, there are many issues to consider when making a decision to sell structured settlement payments-and not all of the issues are financial. One must also consider the emotional aspects as well. There are times when a financial loss is a small price to pay for reducing or eliminating the emotional stress and anxiety one might feel about being in debt. When one considers the original intent of the structured settlement-to provide financial and emotional peace of mind after an injury or crisis situation-sometimes selling some of the structured settlement payments is just a logical extension of its original purpose.

Second, if the annuitant uses the cash lump sum to pay off a debt with an exorbitant interest rate, finance charges, or late fees, such as credit card debt, even a discounted settlement payment will offset the high rates or fees on the debt. And the peace of mind of no longer being in debt or at risk of bankruptcy or foreclosure may allow the annuitant to move forward with smart plans for the future.

Does the reason qualify as a good reason to sell structured settlement payments?

Based on the transactions that have been approved by judges, there are a number of valid reasons for selling structured settlements: paying off or reducing debt (especially caused by a job loss), avoiding bankruptcy or foreclosure, taking care of healthcare and medical needs, paying for education or career training, providing for family, starting a well-planned business, paying for expenses related to a new or existing employment opportunity, or buying or renovating a home.

The list above is not complete of course-people have been approved to sell structured settlement payments to purchase a car to replace one that was constantly in need of expensive repairs, for example-so if the reason is practical and aimed at either reducing an expense or a debt or creating a new source of income or investment, it should be a good reason to sell structured settlement payments in the eyes of the legal system.

Perhaps the individual should find another source of cash such as a bank loan or home equity line of credit.

In today’s tight financial market, even individuals with good credit may have a hard time getting a bank loan. And people with average or below average credit scores will find it nearly impossible to take out a loan. Besides, even if a bank would give out a loan, is now really the right time to add the unsettling feelings and stresses of increased debt to one’s life?

As for a home equity line of credit, these days, when the value of one’s home may be less than amount owed on the mortgage, it may not even be possible to get a home equity line of credit. And even if one is able to take out a home equity line of credit, when a person is coming from a place of insecure finances, it is scary and often risky to put one’s home on the line as collateral for this type of loan. Besides, it is not the best idea to load one’s home up with debt-even if the loan is at a lower rate as is often the case with home equity lines of credit.

Finally, if a person has access to cash from a structured settlement annuity to tie them over until a future source of income or job kicks in, there is a priceless emotional feeling of being free from debt-it is like being given a clean slate or second chance. And that sense of optimism and freedom provides the best frame of mind for the best chance of success when starting the first day of the rest of one’s life-which of course is exactly the point of the structured settlement in the first place: to help the annuitant meet his or her needs while recovering from an injury or crisis.

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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.

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