Friday, February 8, 2013

More Structured Settlement Questions

Have you been awarded a large amount of money from a lawsuit? If so, you might be curious about structured settlements. The court will offer you a choice of how and when you want to receive your cash reward. You may choose to receive it all at once, or you can set up a long term payment plan. This long term payment plan is what is known as a structured settlement. Before you make any decisions regarding your reward money it is a good idea to learn as much as you can about how structured settlements work. Here are some more answers to your structured settlement questions.

Why Would I Want to Create a Structured Settlement?

There are many advantages to receiving your reward money in the form of a structured settlement. It will save you in interest taxes on any investments you make. It will also allow you to set up a steady stream of income so that you can properly plan for your future. Structured payments help ensure that you don’t accidentally spend all of your compensation at one time. Studies clearly show that compensation recipients tend to spend less of their reward if it is provided for them through several payments over a long period of time.

Will My Reward Be Any Less if I Choose a Structured Payout?

No. The amount that the court has awarded you will not change. You will receive the same amount whether you choose a structured payout plan or if you choose to get all of the money at once. However, structured settlement payments can help save you money in the form of taxes.

How Much Will a Structured Settlement Save Me in Taxes?

The amount that a structured settlement could save you in taxes could be substantial. You can expect to save approximately 25% to 35% of your total reward in state and federal taxes on any income your reward will generate. All settlement funds are tax free, but you will be taxed on any interest you accrue if you invest any of your reward. If you invest the single large lump sum you will end up paying more in taxes than if you invest using a structured payment plan.

How Much Flexibility Will I Have to Set Up This Form of Payment?

Structured settlements offer a tremendous amount of flexibility in determining how and when the payments will be made. You can set up equal payments over a set number of years. An example of this would be to receive $1000 a month for 20 years. You can set up payments on a per week basis, or you can set up monthly or bi-monthly payments. The payments do not have to be equal either. You could set up specific periods of time that pay out more than others. For example, if you were injured in an accident and require a new motorized wheelchair every 5 years, you could set up a payment plan that pays out more money every 5 years in addition to the regular monthly payments. This would allow you to pay for what you need when you need it.

What If I Change My Mind?

Once a structured settlement has been created it cannot be changed or altered. So if you currently receive $500 a month from a structured settlement and you need $1000 the next month, you cannot change your agreement. You can sell part of your total monetary reward to a company in exchange for receiving a lump sum of money now, when you need it.  The result of this form of transaction will be that you get all of your money upfront, but you will lose a percentage of it to the company.

Overall, structured settlements are very helpful to plaintiffs, but it is not recommended that you pursue this form of payment until you speak with a lawyer or tax professional. 

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