Best Structured Settlement Buyout Companies

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If you’ve been involved in a lawsuit and awarded damages, you may have agreed to a structured settlement. This is when, instead of receiving a lump sum of the award amount, you receive it in installments over a set period of time.

But what if you need all the cash right now? Structured settlement buyout companies provide cash advances for people who are receiving periodic payments as part of a financial or insurance arrangement.

Before you choose a structured settlement buyout, read our guide to learn whether it’s right for you. We look at broker and direct-funded structured settlement buyers and provide the information you need to make an informed decision.

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What is a structured settlement buyout company?

A structured settlement buyout company is a financial institution that purchases structured settlements from individuals who are receiving payments over time as a result of a legal settlement or court judgment.

A buyout company provides you with a lump sum and takes an agreed-upon cut.

When someone receives a structured settlement, it’s typically regular payments over a specific period. However, some individuals may prefer to have a lump sum of cash instead of waiting for periodic payments. That's where a structured settlement buyout company comes in.

For example, say you were in a car accident and suffered significant injuries. You were awarded a structured settlement from the responsible party’s insurance company. The settlement specified you would receive monthly payments of $2,000 for a period of 20 years, totaling $480,000.

If you would rather have a majority of that money upfront, you might use a structured settlement buyout company. The buyout company evaluates the value of the remaining payments based on factors such as the total amount of the settlement, the payment schedule and the prevailing interest rates.

If you both agree on a purchase price, you would sign a contract with the buyout company. The buyout company then takes over the rights to the future payments and provides you a lump sum payment — while also taking its agreed-upon cut.

While you would ultimately walk away with less money in the long run, a buyout gives you immediate access to the cash, which you may want or need for paying off debts, funding education or making investments.

» MORE: How to manage your money

Pros and cons of structured settlement buyout companies

“Never sell your structured settlements without first understanding the value you'll be losing and getting offers from several competitors,” said Jeremy Babener, president of Structured Consulting. “Often, by keeping your structured settlement payments you'll benefit from a federal tax subsidy and maintain financial security. Don't give them up unless you have to.”

Babener said that sometimes selling is the right move, especially if you have overwhelming debts.

“A good financial advisor can compare your debt's interest rate to the rate that the buyout company is using to value your payments,” he said. “If the interest rate on your debt is much higher, selling may be a wise option for you.”

» MORE: How to choose a financial advisor

Consider these pros and cons before deciding whether you should keep your structured settlement as is or sell for a lump sum.

Pros

  • Immediate access to funds: With one lump sum of cash, you can use it for a down payment, college tuition or investing.
  • Financial flexibility: With more money upfront, you can repay your debts and better support your budget.
  • Avoid long-term waiting: Waiting for a settlement to pay out over 10 to 20 years can also be risky since you don’t know if the future holds inflation risks.

Cons

  • Reduced overall payout: Selling a structured settlement means accepting a discounted amount of the total future payments.
  • Loss of future income: You forfeit the future periodic payments you would have received.
  • Legal and financial implications: There can be tax implications, potential penalties and legal restrictions that you need to be aware of.

Choosing a structured settlement buyout company

When choosing a structured settlement buyout company, verify the company's reputation and credentials. There are many scam companies out there, so you want to use a trustworthy company that is both regulated and licensed.

These are the top-rated and reviewed structured settlement buyout companies on ConsumerAffairs:

If you are going through a structured settlement process now and want a consultation, you should speak to an expert in that industry, such as Ringler. Ringler is not a buyout company but instead a structured settlement consultant. It offers settlement plans that have tax-free earnings and long-term protection for free to the injured individual — the party making the settlement payments pays for Ringler’s services.

Whichever company you choose should be clear in its process, terms, timelines and fees. Don’t shy away from comparing offers from multiple companies while assessing not only the lump sums amount they offer but also the overall value, including any associated fees and the impact on your long-term financial goals.

FAQ

Are there different types of structured settlements?

Yes, there are different types of structured settlements. The most common is a periodic structured settlement, where you receive a set amount of money for a set period of time. Another type is a life-contingent structured settlement, which provides payments for your lifetime. There is also a deferred lump-sum structured settlement, where you are paid at a set date in the future.

When is a structured settlement buyout a good idea?

If you need a lump sum of money sooner rather than later for getting yourself out of a tricky debt situation, or for buying a house, paying for college expenses or starting a new business, you may want to pursue a buyout. Make sure you know upfront how much it will cost you and are not pressured to make the decision.

Who should use a structured settlement buyout company?

A structured settlement buyout should only be used if you are in dire financial need. It might sound more fun to have a huge amount of money today rather than to get a small amount each month, but sticking with the structured settlement can protect you from tax implications and overspending.

What is the Structured Settlement Protection Act?

The Structured Settlement Protection Act (SSPA) is a federal law enacted to regulate the transfer of structured settlement payments. The act protects consumers from predatory purchasing practices by enforcing buyout companies to follow specific measures and have a level of transparency.

How much do structured settlement buyouts cost?

The cost of structured settlement buyouts varies depending on various factors, including the amount of the settlement, the remaining payment duration and the specific terms of the buyout agreement. Typically, structured settlement buyout companies will offer a lump sum that is less than the total value of the remaining payments; you can expect the company to take a large percentage for providing you with cash upfront.

Not sure how to choose?

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    Structured settlement reviews

    Annuity Transfers, Ltd.

    Annuity Transfers is a structured settlement company, established in 2003 and headquartered in Plano, Texas. Annuity Transfers' employees have over 40 years of combined experience in the structured settlement industry. They promise to thoroughly discuss the pros and cons of a sale, including the laws that govern such sales in the customers' state, and avoid high-pressure sales tactics. 

    • Direct-funded: Annuity Transfers is a capitalized financial services company, which means they are direct-funded. They do not require the use of a broker and their money is available immediately to purchase structured payments.
    • Good track record: Annuity prides itself on an extremely low denial rate for purchase of structured payments. While some denials are expected, a low denial rate can indicate a company that is professional and committed to sound financial transactions for consumers.
    • No commission sales: Annuity does not have salespeople who work on straight commission. This can mean less pressure when shopping around.
    • Free online quote: Annuity provides a quick and simple online request for a quote. Simply visit their website and click "Request a Quote," and they will contact you within four business days.
    • Helpful FAQ: Annuity Transfers' website features a helpful frequently asked questions page, with information on how the present value and discount rate for your settlement is calculated and what types of payments they purchase.
    Annuity.org

    Annuity.org is a Florida-based company that buys annuities and structured settlements from people who would rather receive lump sums of cash instead of monthly payments spread out over several years. The company provides a simple process that helps potential clients determine whether they want to sell their payments. It also provides services to expedite the selling process.

    • Cash advances: Annuity.org provides up to $1,000 in cash advances to qualified clients who are selling their annuity or structured settlement payments.
    • Free quote: Annuity.org provides free, no-obligation quotes to help potential clients decide whether they want to sell their annuities and structured settlements.
    • Court booking: Since most states require consumers to obtain a judge's approval before selling structured settlements and annuities, Annuity.org will schedule a court date to help clients get their payments as quickly as possible.
    • Legal assistance: Annuity.org has helped people sell structured settlements and annuities in all 50 states, so its representatives understand how each state's laws will influence the process.
    • Financial advice: Annuity.org provides financial advice to help clients determine how they can pay off debts, purchase property or invest the money that they get from selling their annuities and structured settlements.

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