To Sell or Not to Sell Your Structured Settlement?

At the time, it may have sounded like a good idea — forgoing a large, lump sum payout from an auto accident or other life event (tax implications come to mind) and instead, opting for small periodic payments over months or years

maybe your son or daughter was born with a birth defect that could have been prevented, a pharmaceutical company was found liable, and you wanted to ensure the money would be there to care for her for decades.

For whatever reason, now things have changed, and you’ve decided that the “structured settlement,” as it’s called, is no longer going to work for you.

What to do?

“Sometimes cashing in is the only option,” says “That $500 monthly payment from an accident in 2002 may have helped with the medical bills early on, but if the beneficiary has now lost his job and is on the verge of losing a home, a lump sum payout of $50,000 may seem quite enticing.”

In fact, an estimated $6 billion in structured settlements are bought or sold during any given year. Not all financial services firms are alike, however. So, instead of calling the first 800 number you see in a TV ad, you need to carefully consider who will handle your business.

One new web-based entry in the field,, is standing apart from its competitors for making the process easy to understand and utterly transparent for potential sellers. Not only does the company provide hundreds of examples of past sales — including six-figure ones — to give you an idea of what to expect before requesting to be contacted by an agent, but it features PDFs of signed court documents. It bears repeating: PDFs of signed court documents.

“We’re committed to providing more information about structured settlement annuity sales than any other company in the industry,” says Todd Albert, SellMyAnnuity’s chief technology officer. “And we’ll help people determine whether they should sell, how many payments they want to sell and, of course, make sure they get as much money as possible as fast as possible.”

In addition, the website also explains how federal and state laws exist to protect you from yourself. Chief among them? Even after you’ve decided to accept an offer, a judge who has heard your reasons for trading future payments for an immediate lump sum must confirm the sale is “in your best interest.”

“You can’t turn your structured settlement into cash just because you’d like a new car,” says Albert. “But things like buying or repairing a home, starting a business, funding a college education and paying off debt can be acceptable.”