The Structured Settlement
Potential Disadvantages of Structured Settlements
Some people who enter into structured settlements feel trapped by the periodic payments. They may wish to purchase a new home, or other expensive item, yet be unable to muster the resources because they can't borrow against future payments under their settlement.
Some people will do better by accepting a lump sum settlement, and investing it themselves. Many standard investments will give a greater long-term return than the annuities used in structured settlements.
Selling a Structured Settlement
If you have a structured settlement, you may have been approached by a company interested in purchasing your settlement, or may be curious about selling your settlement in return for a lump sum buyout. About two thirds of states have enacted laws which restict the sale of structured settlements, and tax-free structured settlements are also subject to federal restrictions on their sale to a third party. Also, some insurance companies will not assign or transfer annuities to third parties, to discourage the sale of structured settlements. As a consequence, depending upon where you live and the terms of your annuities, it may not be possible for you to sell your settlement.
Keep in mind that companies which buy structured settlements intend to profit from their purchase, and sometimes their offers may seem quite low. You may benefit from approaching more than one company in relation to the sale of your settlement, to make sure that you obtain the highest payoff. You also want to be sure that the company which wants to buy your settlement is established, well-funded, and reputable - you don't want a fly-by-night outfit to obtain the rights to your annuities but to disappear or go bankrupt before paying you the buyout money. You may have to go to court to get a judge to approve the buyout. It is usually a good idea to consult with a lawyer before entering into an agreement to sell your settlement.