After winning a lawsuit and receiving compensation, a personal injury plaintiff has the choice of taking their winnings as one time lump sum or as a stream of income over a long period of time. This series of payment is what is referred to as structured settlement.
Whether you opt for structured settlement or a lump sum payment depends on several factors such as how you plan to spend the money, your tax liability and whether you are able to manage a large sum of money.
The key differences between structured settlements and lump sum settlements are:
Structured settlements offers a better future guarantee of money than a single income which you can spend quickly.
Secondly, structured settlements are exempted from federal and state tax. The interest accrued is also tax free. The interest earned together with the tax free benefits equate to an overall payout that is much greater than the initial settlement placed in the structured annuity.
Selling your structured settlement
When you face a serious financial need, you can opt to sell your annuity and obtain a lump sum payment instead of putting your life on hold. Some of the instances when you can sell your structured settlement include:
- Clearing medical expenses
- Buying a house
- Starting a business
- Paying off debt
- In case of divorce
- After losing a job
- Assisting family or friends in financial needs etc.
Selling a portion or your entire structured settlement can help get your life back in control.
The process of selling structured settlements is quite simple. Here is how to go about it. Begin by contacting several factoring companies and ask for a quote. Compare the different quotes then make a decision on the best company to work with. Be sure to confirm if the company is reputable. Once you accept a specific quote, the company sends you copies of all the disclosures and contracts to sign and send back. You should ensure that you understand all the terms and ask any questions that you may have. The factoring company’s lawyer files the document with your local court where you will be required to attend a hearing. If you confirm that you understand what you are doing, the judge approves and signs the sale order which is then sent to the insurance company currently paying the annuity. After receiving your lump sum payment from the structured settlement company, it begins to receive the structured settlements instead of you.
How to choose structured settlement companies
To ensure that you receive the most money for your settlement, you must find the best company to work with. However, with so many settlement buyers, selecting the right one can be quite complicated and confusing. Here is a guide to help you.
- Check the amount of time they have been in business: The first thing that you should look for in a structured settlement company is the length of time they have been in business. Though there is nothing wrong with working with a new company, one that has been in business for a long time is more likely to be reputable and stable. Brand new companies on the other hand have no track record and can disappear anytime.
- Check the reputation: Another thing that you should consider is the reputation of the company. An excellent way to find a reliable structured company is to check if it is registered with the Better Business Bureau. This not only confirms the company’s reputation but also makes it easy to conduct further research into their customer satisfaction history, business practices and more.
- Ability to offer quotes fast: Time is of essence especially when in need of money. Upon requesting for a quote, a representative of the structured settlement company should contact you immediately with all the information you may need. Stay away from any company that takes weeks to reply to your quote requests or one that never does.
Top structured settlement companies to consider
- JG WentworthOlive: J.G. Wentworth buys your annuity in exchange for a lump sum. This company has been purchasing future structured settlement payments for over 20 years and they guarantee the best price and a customized transaction to fit your needs.
- Olive Branch Funding: Olive Branch Funding is yet another top rated purchaser of structured settlement payments. They have many years of experience in the field. After the judge signs the sale order agreement, they provide cash upfront in exchange for your annuity.
- SenecaOne: Located in Bethesda, Marlyand, SenecaOne is a structured settlement and annuity purchasing company. It takes a personalized approach to solving your immediate cash needs as well as helping you discover long-term solutions. This company opened its doors in 2002 and it takes pride in offering payment plans customized to the recipients, giving them control of how much or how little they sell.