What is a Structured Settlement?
Structured settlement annuities are a financial instrument that is normally used to provide regular, tax free payments to personal injury victims over a long period of time. Instead of facing unexpected stress and management issues that come with receiving a lump sum of money, the recipient is protected from bad judgment that could result in spending a large portion of the money that he or she needs to manage a lifetime of injury related expenses.
How do I sell my Structured Payments?
You may need to buy or repair a home, start or invest in a business, fund a college education, pay off a debt, divorce or invest. These some valid reasons why you’d like to have lump sum in your hands rather than your periodical payments. The process of selling an annuity or structured settlement is not difficult, but it involves you taking the step to sell, deciding how much to sell and going before a judge to approve your request prior to accessing your cash.
All this process includes five steps:
- Make the decision to sell | you can start the sale of your settlement process if you have valid reasons for it and the sale of your payments will not have any effects on your future financial needs.
- Shop around to find the discount rate and service on your sale | it is important that you work with a funding company that is reputable and has your best interests in mind, uses its own money to fund (is not merely a broker), is experienced in completing the court ordered transfer process, and has A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau and very few complaints, if any.
- Choose the company you like best and start the sales process | you must begin the paperwork process. After you submit the proper paperwork (your annuity policy, settlement agreement or benefit's letter so the transfer company can verify your payments, application, ID), all materials are reviewed to ensure they are complete and accurate.
- Have your sale approved by a judge | once the relevant documents are returned and they are fully signed, a local attorney files them with court and after that the court will schedule a hearing. This is the beginning of the waiting period. In the court you will be required to justify why the money is needed and you should be in a position to show that you are not putting your and your family’s financial future in jeopardy. Unless there are any problems with your request of transfer, the judges mostly approve the transfer at this stage.
- Get your money | Once approved, the judge will sign the order approving your transaction and the order is sent over to the insurance company to wire funds.
How long does it take to sell my Structured Payments?
After you've signed the contract, on average it takes about 45 days to receive your money. However, keep in mind that every structured settlement purchase transaction is different due to each state's laws regulating such purchase transactions. In addition, you may qualify for an immediate cash advance to help you through a particularly tough time.
What discount rate is normal when selling Structured Settlements?
If you are considering selling your annuity, you need to be sure that the offers you are getting are reasonable and fair as you’ll have to get the lump sum reduced by a factor of the projected interest earnings, known as the discount rate. The exact discount rate that you will need to give in order to sell your structured settlement will depend upon the total amount of your settlement payments, the number of payments you have remaining, the date those payments are due to arrive, the number of payments you wish to sell etc. The longer people have to wait to receive their payments, the greater the discount rate will need to be. Discount rates from factoring companies to consumers can range anywhere between 8% up to over 18% but usually average somewhere in the middle. An average discount rate of 12% should be reasonable but there are some companies that will want to take as much as 30% discount.
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