Tue. May 30th, 2023

structured settlement payment streams

Structured Settlement Payment Streams

When a claimant settles a personal injury lawsuit, the settlement funds can be structured into a series of periodic payments. These are designed to provide tax-free payments and financial predictability to settling claimants.

However, some victims of personal injury may find that a lump sum payment is necessary to meet immediate financial needs. To circumvent this restriction, they turn to businesses known as factoring companies that purchase structured settlement proceeds and pay a lump sum in one payment.

Fixed Payment Schedules

Fixed payment schedules are an excellent way to guarantee a stream of tax-free income for a long period of time. They are also a great way to avoid the risk of losing large amounts of money due to inflation.

In some cases, fixed payment schedules are used in structured settlement payment streams as well. These schedules can be used to pay off debt, save for retirement or fund a business venture.

A fixed payment schedule is a good option for many plaintiffs, especially those who are concerned about interest rates in the future. They are particularly useful if the settlement includes a life insurance policy or other investments that might suffer if interest rates rise.

Other benefits of a fixed payment schedule include financial predictability, tax-free payments and liquidity. However, some structured settlement recipients find these payments constricting.

Using a fixed payment schedule can be beneficial if the plaintiff needs a predictable income source or wants to be able to take a vacation or pay for medical bills without worrying about how much money they’ll receive each month. Having a reliable source of income can make it easier to plan for your future and reduce the temptation to spend too much.

An additional benefit of a fixed payment schedule is that it can be paired with a COLA, which means that you will receive a small increase in your monthly payment amount each year. This helps to offset the effects of inflation and can be a significant advantage over a lump sum payout.

Another type of fixed payment schedule is a lifetime annuity. This type of structured settlement income stream pays for the life of the annuitant, and may include a death benefit or guarantee period. This can be a good choice if the plaintiff or payee has a high income and will be eligible for Social Security benefits in the future.

There are many different types of structured settlement payment streams and each one has its own unique advantages. For example, a market-based structured settlement payment stream is an innovative product that allows a plaintiff or attorney to defer their settlement funds by participating in the returns of a managed equity portfolio.

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An annuity is a type of life insurance policy that guarantees a stream of income payments in the future. The payments can be a set amount of money or a guaranteed percentage of the insured’s total settlement sum.

Annuities are best suited for individuals who want to create a long-term, guaranteed income stream that will be available to them for the rest of their lives. They are also a good solution for those who are in the “retirement gap” – the time when their savings and income fall short of what they need for retirement.

Structured settlement annuities are a great option for injured claimants who are looking to secure their financial futures. They offer tax-free income, flexible payouts and the ability to restructure payments when a minor beneficiary becomes an adult.

Once the plaintiff receives a structured settlement, the claimant can then work with a qualified assignee to purchase an annuity from a life insurance company that matches their specific needs. The annuity contract is then established to meet the terms of the settlement agreement, which cannot be changed once the settlement has been finalized.

A structured settlement annuity can be purchased immediately or it can be deferred until a later date, depending on the payee’s preferences. Once the annuity has been purchased, the annuity company will calculate how much the payee will be paid in the future and then start making the payments to them.

As with any other investment, the annuity can lose value if interest rates drop and inflation erodes the purchasing power of the annuity’s payments. Some annuities offer cost-of-living adjustments, which increase monthly payments to help them keep up with rising costs of living.

In addition to protecting an injured party’s income, a structured settlement annuity can also protect their personal assets and financial health. When Congress amended the federal tax code in 1982, it encouraged injured claimants to consider using structured settlement annuities by providing that 100% of any injury settlement payment that is a lump sum or in the form of a structured settlement annuity be tax-free.

Tax-Free Payments

In personal injury cases, structured settlements may provide victims with a stream of tax-free payments over time. This is a valuable tool for victims who have been injured and may need long-term care, including support for themselves or their family members.

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These payments are guaranteed by the insurance company that issued them. Unlike stocks, bonds or mutual funds, these annuities do not fluctuate with market changes and offer an attractive option to recipients who want the security of a guaranteed income.

However, these payment streams can be vulnerable to a variety of risks. For example, if a defendant or insurer defaults on the annuity payments, this can deprive victims of the coveted tax benefits.

To avoid this, defendants and casualty insurers often assign the obligation to make periodic payments to a third party. In addition to avoiding this disadvantage, an assignment also allows the plaintiff to know how much it will cost to receive a structured settlement.

This information can be helpful to the plaintiff, as it provides them with an opportunity to decide whether or not to retain a structured settlement. It can also help them to determine how much they will need for other needs while they await their first settlement payment or lump sum.

For instance, a victim who is in need of immediate cash for debt elimination or college tuition may want to consider a pre-settlement funding solution such as an equity line of credit. This can be a good choice, as it can provide a source of emergency money while the plaintiff waits for their settlement payment or lump sum.

But a plaintiff should be careful not to use these options as an excuse for squeezing more money out of their settlement. Instead, they should consider the alternatives available to them and weigh the pros and cons of each before deciding how to spend their future settlement.

The IRS has issued several guidelines to assist plaintiffs in determining how much to include in their gross income. It is important to understand that these guidelines do not apply in all cases, and it is advisable to consult with a tax professional for additional details.

Cashing Out

When someone wins or settles a personal injury lawsuit, they usually have the option of taking a lump sum payout or receiving periodic payments over time. These settlements are popular because they provide long-term financial security, help injured people avoid spending money too quickly and allow them to benefit from tax-deferred growth on their money.

However, there are times when a person is in need of immediate cash. Sometimes, this is a result of medical bills or unforeseen expenses. Other times, it is to cover a large debt. Regardless of why, people with structured settlements can sell all or part of their payments to get cash in hand.

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Some factoring companies specialize in purchasing structured settlement payments. These companies make a single and immediate lump sum cash payment that can be much lower than the lifetime value of the periodic payments. Selling your settlement payments can be a good idea if you need cash quickly, but you should not do so without consulting a qualified financial planner or attorney.

These companies also typically take a fee on the sale, which can be between 9% and 18% of the total value of the sale. In addition to the fees, the buyer will often offer you an advance of some of the payments, which can be very helpful if you need cash while your transaction is in process.

If you are considering selling your structured settlement, you should compare the prices offered by several trustworthy structured settlement buyers before making a decision. This is especially important if you are trying to determine whether the factoring company you choose is reputable and a good fit for your needs.

Another option for cashing out your structured settlement is to call the annuity company that issued the payments. These large, highly rated life insurance companies are often able to provide a commutation or acceleration of the payments.

The commutation or acceleration of annuity payments will generally increase the value of the annuity, but this may not be as desirable as the discount that a factoring company can provide. It is always a good idea to contact your annuity provider first, to find out what kind of discounts they are offering.

Jeffrey Augers
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By Jeffrey Augers

Jeffrey Augers is a highly skilled and experienced financial analyst with over 12 years of experience in the finance industry. He has a proven track record of delivering exceptional financial insights and recommendations to clients, empowering them to make informed decisions and achieve their financial goals. Jeffrey holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.