Welcome to the resource page for Legal Settlement.
Curated by: Traci Kaas
About the curator: Traci Kaas, CSSC, CeFT®, is the founder of Kaas Settlement Consulting in Irvine, CA. She holds her Series 6,7, 63 & 65 Licenses and Life insurance licensed in all 50 states and as well as her designation from Mendoza School of Business at the University of Notre Dame as a Certified Structured Settlement Consultant.
Did You Know?
1 in 20
older adults indicate some form of perceived financial mistreatment.
Only in 44
cases of financial abuse is ever reported.
Helpful videos, books, articles and support groups related to legal settlement.
When you're navigating a legal settlement, it's essential to retain professionals who will give you sound advice and work with integrity on your behalf. (In the bottom right there will be a three vertical dots – click that and then click Download.) View MP4 File Here
In this "Real Stories" video from the National Structured Settlements Trade Association, personal injury attorney Thomas Bond tells the unfortunate story of one client who would have been well-served by a structured settlement but chose a lump sum payout instead.
You might receive a legal settlement if you (or a loved one) are the victim of an accident or a natural disaster. Attorney Charles Leche outlines best practices that will help you and your team of professionals achieve better claims resolution.
National Structured Settlements Trade Association President Geoffrey P. Kissel describes the organization’s mission, to provide continuing education for structured settlement consultants and to inform and educate judges, mediators, claims professionals and attorneys.
Curated Books, Articles and Podcasts
What is a structured settlement?
A structured settlement is a financial package custom-designed for an injured party and paid by the defendant or insurer. The parties agree on the package, and the defense funds its obligation by purchasing an annuity from a life insurance company. A structured or periodic payment settlement can be simply defined as “any series of payments made other than a single lump sum amount.”
What is the goal of a structured settlement?
The structured settlement is designed to protect the injured party; to guarantee income to assist in paying for future medical care and life expenses; and to prevent spendthrift. With a locked-in rate of return, injured claimants can rest assured that market volatility will not affect their structured settlement payments.
What are the benefits of a structured settlement?
The greatest benefit of a personal injury structured settlement is that all the payments are guaranteed and are 100% federal and state tax-free. The lack of overhead fees combined with the preferential tax treatment allow structured settlements to remain competitive with traditional investments.
How does a structured settlement pay?
A structured settlement is based on each individual’s needs. Payments can be received monthly, quarterly, annually, or in lump sums, with or without cost of living increases, and made payable for any period of time desired. The schedule of payments is determined on the front end of the transaction, resulting in a steady source of safe, reliable, guaranteed income for the claimant.
My legal settlement amount is fairly small. Can I pursue a structured settlement?
Structured settlements may be funded with proceeds from settlements of almost any size; in fact, many structured settlement providers will structure amounts as low as $10,000. The choice is ultimately the claimant’s, and many find that a structured settlement is much more beneficial than a lump sum cash payment.
What about legal settlements other than personal injury?
Certain types of settlements do not qualify for income tax exclusion via a traditional structured settlement annuity. Fortunately, a non-qualified structured settlement annuity offers income tax-deferred payments for a wide range of legal settlements.
When might a non-qualified structured settlement be used?
There are many circumstances, including but not limited to:
- Employment litigation (e.g., wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination, whistleblower, and mental anguish)
- Construction defects
- Contract disputes
- Punitive damages
- Environmental claims
Will my settlement affect my government benefits?
It depends upon what type of benefits you receive. If you are on needs-based government benefits, such as Medicaid, accepting a lump sum settlement could jeopardize your eligibility for these benefits. So-called “entitlement benefits,” such as Social Security retirement income or Medicare, are not determined by income/assets and should not be interrupted as a result of your settlement. Due to rapidly changing regulations, it is always best practice to first speak with your caseworker or local government benefit agency regarding reporting requirements and income thresholds.
What is the Certified Structured Settlement Consultant® professional certification program? Learn about the designation, and why it’s essential to work with a consultant who’s been through this rigorous program. https://www.nssta.com/csscmssc
“How Criminals Steal $37 Billion a Year from America’s Elderly” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-05-03/america-s-elderly-are-losing-37-billion-a-year-to-fraud?utm_campaign=news&utm_medium=bd&utm_source=applenews
“No Money, No Place to Go”: Elderly Couple Faces Eviction” https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Elderly-Thousand-Oaks-Couple-Loses-Home-After-Alleged-Fraud-by-Grandson-387361632.html
“Insurance agent Michael Wolf in sheep’s clothing as he victimizes dependent adult” http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0400-news/0100-press-releases/2018/release049-18.cfm
“Lump Sum vs. Structured Settlement: What’s the Better Choice?”
“How to Reap Long-Term Financial Benefits in a Taxable Damages Case”
“Providing for a Disabled Claimant’s Future”
“Minors’ Settlements: Considerations and Case Examples”
“Don’t Fall for These Six Structured Settlement Myths”
In this “Structured Settlement Stories” post, read about one mother’s perspective on managing her disabled daughter’s legal settlement.
In this “Structured Settlement Stories” post, this Connecticut woman was forced to give up her nursing job after an auto accident that was caused by another driver.
In this “Structured Settlement Stories” post, Joan tells how she managed the settlement that she received when her husband was killed in an accident, which included making sure she was able to provide for her children’s college education.
“Structured Settlements: Your Future. Guaranteed”
“Structured Settlements: A solution for Workers’ Compensation Claims”
“What you should know before giving up your monthly disability, personal injury or structured settlement payments in exchange for a one-time lump sum payment.”
“Financial Security After a Child’s Accident”
“Protect Your Government Benefits with a Special Needs Trust”
“Financial Security for the Golden Years”
“Seguridad Financiera Para La Familia”
“Proteja Sus Beneficios Gubernamentales con un Fideicomiso Especial”