What Should I Do With This Structured Settlement?

by Nick on February 10, 2015

The short answer is “preferably nothing”. If you have a structured settlement, or a settlement of any kind, congratulations! You won a lawsuit out of court. This means that you’ve probably had a rough go of it in the past few months. Maybe you have been out of work. Maybe you have been injured. Maybe someone you love has had bad things happen to them. Whatever the case, some restitution has been made, and things are starting to look up.

But sometimes, a structured settlement isn’t enough to cover the chaos that happens in and around a courtroom case. If any of the above scenarios are true in your life, the small monthly payments that get paid out on a structured settlement won’t be enough to cover the damage. Sometimes people who win settlements go bankrupt shortly afterward. And it’s usually for reasons like this. This shouldn’t be the way things are, but it’s the reality of the situation.

If you are looking down the barrel of this gun, there are some options that are available to you. If you haven’t reached a settlement yet, have your lawyer PUSH for a lump sum payment. Sometimes the defendant’s lawyers will try not to let this happen, because it means that you will have to be paid all at once. Don’t let them pass this off on you if its not what you want. It may be hard, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

If you already have a structured settlement in place, but know that you don’t want it or that it isn’t making you enough money to cover your expenses, you can always sell the thing. Selling a structured settlement is easier than it might sound. There are lots of businesses out there that make all of their money buying up structured settlements . . . for somewhat less than they are worth. This should come as no surprise. After all, they are selling the convenience of a lump sum. The profit they make is the extra value over and above what they pay.

My advice? Go find a “sell structured settlement website”. Actually find a bunch of them. Get quotes from each one, and let them know what the other guys are offering you. This way, you’ll be able to get the best quote available, and you won’t lose as much money. Before you can actually go through with one of these sales, though, you’ll have to check with your state court. They preside over these matters, and their rules are somewhat strict. Basically, you can’t sell your settlement for just any reason. It’ll have to be for a purpose that benefits you a lot in the future, financially speaking.

So don’t ask a court to let you sell your settlement so you can buy a sports car. A lot of settlement sale places will advertise the sale as if you are allowed to do this, but you aren’t. If you make sure that your sale will make good things happen for you in the future, you’ll probably be allowed to sell it no problem. Better yet, get a lump sum in the first place when you settle your case.

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