Our thoughts on...
Structured settlements offer a combination of benefits unavailable through any other financial vehicle, period. When utilized in thoughtful proportion for suitable claimants, there is no substitute.
There are no "secret weapons"in structured settlements; there is only knowledge and ignorance. Knowledge enables you to pursue value; ignorance hands it away.
Don't "arm" adversaries with your own ignorance. Learn where the value lies and negotiate accordingly. If they've retained an experienced professional to assist them, so should you.
"Plaintiff-only" or "defense-only" is meaningless marketing hype. Which side retains you has nothing to do with your effectiveness as a practitioner. Structured settlements are inanimate financial transactions—nothing more, nothing less.
Skill, experience, and integrity deliver value to clients. Playing to their emotions only clouds their thinking and detracts from the task at hand.
Avoid part-timers. Structured settlements are highly sophisticated transactions governed by critical tax rules and legal principles. It is all too easy to void the benefits if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Involving amateurs only complicates the process, usually delays it, and potentially puts all parties at risk.
Dopey Offers and Misvaluation
Thoughtful offers lead to good settlements. Defendants should not waste time offering claimants things they can't say "yes" to. By this we don't mean they should pay more than a claim is worth; we do mean they should not junk their offers up with ill-considered designs or economically harmful restrictions.
By the same token, claimants or trial attorneys should never dismiss structured offers without first having them correctly valued by a qualified professional. The risks of trial are too high to base one's decision on flawed analysis.
Those late-night television ads
Claimants should never sell their future payments unless they absolutely have to. While limited liquidity for bona fide emergencies is a good thing, the people who offer “CASH NOW-” don’t play nice and they don’t play fair.
How badly they want to separate claimants from their structures should provide some indication of how valuable the structures themselves are—and how hard claimants should work to keep them.
It is remarkable how otherwise intelligent people can be swayed by exotic terminology. Last decade it was "tech stocks" and the "new economy"; this decade, it's "hedge funds" and "private equity". Don't know what it is - gotta have it!
No matter how they are configured or titled, all investment decisions come down to an assessment of risk vs. return with an eye on liquidity, fees, and taxes. When you strip away all that other junk, these are what you consider and these are the only things that count.
Don't be dazzled; root out the hard facts and make sound decisions. Tax-favored structured settlements offer unique benefits unavailable elsewhere. Learn what they are and make intelligent, informed decisions.
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