It’s tempting to lump both annuities and structured settlements into the same category. After all, they have quite a few similarities, including regular payments over a specified period of time. However, they’re actually very different and the way federal and state laws handle these two financial products is also very different. What is the difference between an annuity and a structured settlement? Let’s take a closer look.
A Look at Structured Settlements
Structured settlements are exactly what they sound like. These are generally the result of a lawsuit involving personal injury or liability, and represent an award in the plaintiff’s favor. The defendant has been found guilty or has chosen to settle rather than go to trial. The settlement amount has been converted from a lump sum into a series of payments over time. These are called deferred payments.
A Look at Annuities
The difference between an annuity and a structured settlement is that annuities are generally financial tools available through insurance companies or investment firms. Lottery winnings often fall into this category too, if the individual opted for the annuity choice rather than the lump sum payment. An annuity is an investment on which the investor earns a return in addition to the original investment amount, and can have various beneficiaries. Annuities come in a wide range of types, as well.
What to Know
As you can see, the difference between an annuity and a structured settlement is actually pretty significant when you actually dig down into the subject. How does this affect you, the holder of the annuity or structured settlement?
A great deal of how you are affected will be determined by where you live and what state laws apply to the sale of your product. In most instances, states do allow the sale of structured settlements, but annuities are sometimes a different matter. The law can be very complex surrounding the sale of these types of financial tools and you’ll need an expert to help you navigate these murky waters.
Perhaps the best advice for anyone considering selling an annuity or structured settlement is to work with a reputable broker who understands the law. The broker should be a member of the BBB, and should have a long history of providing robust solutions for clients and helping them get the best deal for their settlement or annuity.