When most people think about winning the lottery, they imagine receiving a huge lump sum of money all at one time. However, the reality is that most people avoid the lump sum payment option when buying their ticket, choosing the “annuity” payout instead. This puts winners immediately into a “structured settlement” arrangement. While lottery winnings might not be the same thing as a personal injury case settlement, the outcome is very similar.
In essence, you are choosing to receive your money in installments over the course of time. The structure of those payments (when, how long, how much per payment, etc.) is usually up to you, so you can choose to have as much or as little structure as you like. You can often choose to structure part of the settlement into payments and receive the remainder as a lump sum upfront, but that is really your decision.
The situation seems simple enough, and the choice to accept payments rather than a lump sum seems like a “no-brainer”. Wouldn’t it be better to receive your money over time, like a paycheck? While it might make sense, it doesn’t always work the way you think it would. When considering what structured settlements are, you’ll need to realize that life has a way of changing the game and once you have opted for a structured settlement and the payout format is in place, it’s pretty much set. Your money will technically be locked away from you, inaccessible except for those periodic payments.
Anyone who has considered the question of what are structured settlements will realize an inherent flaw in this plan – what happens if you need more money at one time? There’s really no way to get at your funds, even though they belong to you. With that being said, you can choose to work with a broker to “sell” your structured settlement for a lump sum. You’ll find that there are companies out there who will buy your settlement for a lump sum upfront, ensuring that you have access to the most money possible all at one time, even if you have already chosen a structured settlement payout.
The key is to find the right brokerage company to work with. Not all firms can provide fast quotes from reputable buyers, and some are predatory. It’s vital that the company you work with has a long history of satisfied customers and a dedication to providing outstanding service to each client.