Monthly Archives: July 2016

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.

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.

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

Answer:
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.

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

Answer:
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.

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

Answer:
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.