Can You Sell a Structured Settlement?


If you’ve seen a J.G. Wentworth commercial over the last few years, you probably already know the answer is a resounding “yes.” Whether you sell, however, is up to you and is dependent on a judge’s seal of approval.

How Selling a Structured Settlement Works

Sales of structured settlements begin with a need or want. You want to buy a house or you need to pay off your college loans, for example, but your annuity payments can’t match your wants or needs.

You may wonder, “Can my structured settlement be changed?” It can’t. Once you and the at-fault party reach your terms and a life insurance policy company picks up the annuity, the terms are fixed and finalized. Here is where structured settlement companies, like J.G. Wentworth, come into play.

Before you contact a structured settlement company, though, take a few steps backward. Selling a structured settlement works by taking precautions and doing your research, so start with these steps:

  • Talk to your lawyer. Meet with your attorney from your settlement case and ask, “Can I sell my structured settlement?” You may find you’re in violation of the document’s fine print if you transfer your settlement. If your lawyer gives you the thumbs-up, talk with them about why you want to sell all or a portion of your settlement.
  • Decide your reason to sell. A judge evaluates and rules on every structured settlement transfer — it’s the law. If your reason to sell is that you want a new sports car, versus needing to secure a home, a judge will likely rule the transfer isn’t in your best interest. Judges also look into the purchasing company’s history, the amount you’re receiving and any past requests to sell your settlement.
  • Find your structured settlement company. Sell your structured settlement, or parts of it, the same way you buy a car. Shop around. You’ll probably receive a better price if you don’t choose the first company that gives you a quote. Make sure your broker agrees to pay any fees.
  • Wait for your court date. Prepare to wait more than a month to two months before meeting with a judge to approve your proposed structured settlement transfer. If you’re pressed for cash, however, a lot of settlement companies provide small cash advances.
  • Notarize your agreement. Finalize your transfer agreement and receive your funds so you can move on with your life and plans. If you’re pressed for time or want a notary to meet your schedule, mobile notary services are convenient and available nationwide.

Prepare and do some research before you go about selling your structured settlement. You’ll increase your chances of receiving a judge’s approval, plus earn a purchase offer above your expectations.

What Type of Payments Can You Sell?

You can sell a structured settlement, but you’ll find some are easier to sell than others. Structured settlements break down into two forms — Life-Contingent and Guaranteed Payment. Both are awarded for either a personal injury, wrongful death or as worker’s compensation.

Life-Contingent Structured Settlements end at the time of your passing, so your beneficiary is unable to sell the settlement because of the original agreement terms. Guaranteed Payment Structured Settlements, however, pass to your beneficiaries because the settlement pays out over a fixed timeframe.

Nine types of payments are then available for you to sell for a lump sum:

  • Income for Life: Designed to balance your current expenses with your future expenses. Paid over your estimated life expectancy, they’re passed to your beneficiary if you pass before the last payment.
  • Time Certain: Paid over a select number of years in equal payments.
  • Step Annuity: Adjust to the inflation of money over time so your payment increases in correlation with your expenses.
  • Index Linked: Linked to the growth of the stock market’s S&P 500, but can only increase by five percent each year.
  • Deferred Defined Benefit: Delays the start date for receiving settlement payments.
  • Term Certain: Provided in unequal payments over a select timeframe.
  • Joint and Survivor: Provides a single settlement contract for multiple, often related, individuals.
  • Treasury Funded: Alters the settlement amount to meet inflation and the current cost of living.
  • Variable Income Payout: Influenced by fluctuations in the stock market.

Your type of settlement is important, but the cause of your settlement is more pivotal when it comes to cashing in for a lump sum. The sale of worker compensation settlements, for example, is often complicated by strict state and federal laws, unlike personal injury structured settlement transfers.

It’s another reason why meeting with your lawyer and discussing your case is important if you want to sell your structured settlement successfully.

Who Can Sell Their Payments?

Judges and the courts are responsible for ensuring your best interests are met when selling your payment rights. They can deny a structured settlement based on those grounds. Per the judgment of the court, individuals can be denied the right to sell their payments based on their mental health and age.

Minors, for example, are unable to sell their structured settlements. Courts are fairly protective of a minor’s settlement and will work to protect it and ensure it is used for the child and is available when they turn 18.

Parents, however, can present a case to sell the payment rights to a structured settlement company. The reasons must be beyond compelling, though, and demonstrate that the sale exclusively benefits the child.

The same principle applies to elders or adults assigned guardians because of their mental capacity. If you want to sell their payment rights, it must be to meet the elder or adult’s needs or wants. Courts are often critical of these types of cases to protect the settlement owner, so prepare your case in advance.

Who Can Notarize Your Structured Settlement Agreement?

The sale or purchase of your structured settlement isn’t complete without a notary.

At Superior Notary Services, we have more than 34,000 affiliates in every major city in the U.S. Learn more about our mobile notary services and how we can help you.

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