Many people that have experienced damage or injury from the intentional misconduct or negligence of another individual most often is awarded a structured settlement annuity in court. Historically, courts often awarded a lump sum of cash to the victim. However, structured settlements have become the norm because of their ability to pay out a monthly, quarterly or annual payment to the claimant.
Receiving installment payments in lieu of a single lump sum of cash ensures that the claimant receives regular income for a scheduled period of time. Usually, the defendant (the one that caused the negligence or misconduct) purchases an annuity through an insurance or annuity company for a specific dollar amount. In exchange, the insurance company provides income payments on a routine schedule, following the terms of the structured settlement annuity.
Usually, through the advice of his or her attorney, the claimant will select the type of payments they choose to receive from their structured settlement annuity. They can opt to accept deferred payments, or set the installment payments to keep up with inflation, and even provide special provisions to increase funds later in life. The choices and options available through an annuity should be designed to fit the needs of the beneficiary.
Bound by the Terms
The downside to accepting a structured settlement annuity is being bound by the terms accepted in court. If the payment schedule agreed to by both parties no longer fits the needs of the beneficiary, the terms cannot be changed. However, the structured settlement annuity can be sold with the value of the policy being converted into a lump sum of cash.
Any beneficiary can sell their annuity, or any portion of the structured settlement, to a third party. The remaining payments can be sold to allow the beneficiary to convert its worth into a large sum of cash.