Meaning of Structured Settlement (What it is, Concept and Definition)

"structured settlement" A structured agreement is a financial or insurance agreement that a claimant accepts in the case of personal injury, rather than receiving a lump sum payment. Generally, agreements arise from some legal claim and provide a person with a specific amount of capital for a fixed period of time.

But what about emergency situations in which structured payments are not enough to cover expenses? Although structured agreements can provide convenience over a period of time, this payment method can create problems for people who require liquidity in order to take over the current financial obligations.

Due to the number of structured agreements assigned annually, a secondary market has been developed that allows the owners of these settlements to manage them as required by their financial needs. These options, although potentially beneficial for people who experience short-term financial problems, should be considered as the last resorts.

Types of structured agreements
A structured agreement is usually a method of compensation paid to a claimant who has received a large sum of money from a civil claim or an insurance claim. To finance the obligation, the party responsible for payment of the claim generally uses one of the two common methods:
The method of purchase and retention: The party buys an annuity from a life insurance company.
The assigned method: The liquidation obligation is assigned to a third party, who in turn buys an annuity.

Installment payments arrangements are highly structured agreements that are paid periodically. These periodic payments vary in form.
  1. Annual payments: Payments that are divided into equal amounts and distributed during the agreed period.
  2. Inflation coverage: Payments made in inflation hedges can fluctuate over time, depending on inflation or deflation in the economy.
  3. Indexed monthly payments : Payments that can change in amount due to some financial index that is tracked over time.
  4. Deferred payments: Payments that are paid in unequal amounts during a fixed period of time to cover the expected expenses during the period of the contract.
  5. Measures for future beneficiary care: Payments made to cover periodic medical or housing expenses that may vary from one period to another.

Structured Settlements Pros of payment of annuities
The biggest advantage of receiving payments of annuities is the fiscal benefit. Many structured settlements are not subject to taxes, or can significantly reduce a beneficiary's taxes compared to a lump sum distribution. Even those structured settlements that are considered taxable can provide tax benefits. The income taxes may be deferred to the period in which the payment is made, instead of paying the lump sum tax in the period in which the award is made.

This is the reason why the winners of the lottery are given a choice between receiving their winnings as an annuity or in full. In some cases (generally in the case of minors or persons considered incapable of managing their own finances), a lump sum is not granted per design.

Annuity payment Cons
Once the distribution arrangements are made in a structured settlement, they can not be changed Depending on the legal structure of the agreement, the beneficiary may or may not use a structured settlement as collateral for a loan or other investment option. This is especially true if the payments are not subject to taxes, since federal law prohibits the encumbrance of these tax-free benefits.

Are the structured payments right for you?
Structured settlements are a proven method to solve the financial problems of many personal injury claimants and other beneficiaries of large monetary demands. Beyond the tax benefits and the security of receiving regular income payments, structured agreements are beneficial for people who do not want the burden of investing their profits or who have limited competence to do so.

Structured reconciliations may be appropriate for people who:
  • have a temporary or premature disability.
  • have limited financial experience
  • they are minors or can not manage their own financial affairs.
  • request savings for housing, education or other large future obligations> have been injured or have ongoing medical expenses the settlement market

The need to convert future payments into current cash led to a secondary market for these revenue streams. Companies that are specifically concerned with helping beneficiaries convert their structured agreements are becoming more common. Even so, the cost of redistributing funds can be costly.

Those who have received (or continue to receive) annuity payments are aware of unsolicited proposals from individuals and companies that expect to take advantage of poorly managed finances. The most unscrupulous companies have discounted the future payments of annuities up to 40%, ensuring a considerable return adjusted to the risk. Due to this situation, approximately two thirds of the US states. UU They have imposed restrictions on structured settlements free of taxes.

In addition, some insurance companies will not assign or transfer annuities to third parties to discourage the sale of structured agreements.

Some institutions will allow the partial sale of future payments. Most sales of structured settlement are organized in this way, in which the beneficiaries sell only the minimum portion of payments necessary to cover the most immediate circumstances.

If you are considering selling all or part of a structured settlement, check the reputation of the company that provides the payments.

Do not get involved with a company that can declare itself insolvent before paying your purchase money. Also, consult with a lawyer and a tax advisor before making any transactions.

Approach potential buyers through a structured settlement agent who can compare and contrast the different offers for you and have the resources to provide legal and transaction guidance. Other things to consider

The commissions and fees required to establish the agreement can be significant and may require a large amount of capital.
  • The beneficiaries should make sure that they understand the benefits of the flat-rate awards against annuities.
  • Conflicts of interest can be avoided by confirming that there are no relationships between lawyers and annuities: lawyers can often receive monetary compensation for selecting certain annuity companies.
  • The claimant's life expectancy must be considered when arranging payment options.
  • The diversification of the amount to be paid, among several insurance companies, can protect you from insolvency to a certain extent.
  • The Bottom Line

A structured settlement is an excellent method to invest large monetary credits. Fiscal benefits and the ability to structure themselves based on inflation can create a long-term income stream for beneficiaries. Due to strong legal restrictions on the allocation and transfer of structured agreements, anyone wishing to run or buy one should investigate the ramifications of doing so, and seek legal advice.

Structured settlements vs. single payment settlements: Which is better?
Useful information to consider before deciding how to accept your personal injury compensation.

After winning a case of personal injury, most people are very anxious to get their hands on the compensation they have waited so long to receive. However, the reality is that although receiving a single payment of your total compensation amount may feel good, it is not necessarily the best move from a financial perspective.

For most people, structured settlements are, in fact, the best way to receive compensation in a personal injury case.

How structured settlements work
With a structured settlement, you receive a small check every month, instead of a large lump sum just after your personal injury claim is resolved . This can be very useful for people who may require ongoing medical treatment or lifelong nursing care after their injury.

In most cases, structured settlements are funded by annuities. You can choose between a designated annuity period (which will pay for a certain number of years) and a life annuity (which you will pay for the rest of your life). Either way, the end result will be that you receive more money from the annuity than you would have received from a single payment. (Keep in mind that you are not receiving the extra money from the defendant, but from the growth of your annuity investment.)

Generally, structured settlements are set up so that any money you owe to your insurance company or doctors for your medical expenses and your lawyer for your legal expenses is removed first, before acquiring the annuity.

The biggest advantage of a structured solution
The biggest advantage of a structured settlement is that it provides a low risk solution, easily, with tax advantages to invest your money. While you could theoretically receive a single payment, invest it yourself and get a bigger return, chances are that you would be exposed to greater risk and you would have to pay taxes on the capital gains of all the money earned on your investments. . Revenues from annuities are free of taxes.

Is there a problem in a structured settlement?
The biggest drawback of a structured solution is that you are giving up control of your money. Once the paperwork is signed, you can not change the frequency or amount of payments or exchange the annuity for a better paid investment. Of course, some people do not care much about this because they are choosing a structured solution precisely because they do not have the time or interest to become expert investors and manage their own money.

Another possible drawback of a structured solution is that the company that bought the annuity could have problems. This is a very small possibility, but it would result in the loss of any outstanding balance left in the annuity.

Make a decision
Before making a decision as to how to accept your compensation, you may want to consult a financial planner for more detailed advice.

See also "Structured Settlement Annuity Companies".