Perhaps you have seen those annoying, opera-like J.G. Wentworth TV commercials offering to buy up your structured settlement in exchange for a lump sum return. In reality, a structured settlement is often a smart choice to make in order to better manage your settlement money. Particularly for those settlements in the name of children younger than 18, a structured settlement is an excellent way for parents to manage a controlled distribution of funds to their children.
A structured settlement is an arrangement by which a claimant (the person receiving a legal settlement) receives his or her money over the course of planned, periodic payments. This differs from a lump-sum payment, by which the claimant receives the entire settlement amount at once. While it may be tempting to receive all of your money immediately, there is a danger in poorly managing that money, and blowing it all within a short period after receiving it, or perhaps losing it to a bad investment. One of the major benefits of a structured settlement is that it brings in a steady stream of tax-free income, allowing for greater returns than would be received from a private investment at the same interest rate.
For children, structured settlements are particularly helpful. Normally, a child becomes entitled to his or her settlement funds at the age of 18. By setting up a structured settlement, parents can plan the distribution of funds to their children well after they turn 18, allowing for wiser money management. For example, an annuity will pay the child a specified amount each year. Another example is releasing the money in multiple payments timed to certain ages that the child reaches. Doing so may help your child learn the responsibility of money management without the risk of losing it all at once. It will also help your child as he or she plans to buy a car, pay for college, or move into a new home.
Being a Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) personal injury lawyer, I care deeply that my clients are well taken care of by the money that is owed to them. Particularly with child clients, structured settlements are an excellent option.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.