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Viatical Settlement Agreement

Viatical Settlement Agreement: What It Is and How It Works

A viatical settlement agreement is a contract between the owner of a life insurance policy and a third-party investor. In exchange for a lump sum payment, the owner transfers the ownership of the policy to the investor, who becomes the new beneficiary. This allows the owner to receive a cash payout while they are still alive, rather than waiting for the policy to pay out upon their death.

Viatical settlements were originally intended for people with terminal illnesses who needed money to pay for medical expenses or other bills. However, they have since expanded to include people with chronic illnesses or other serious medical conditions as well.

How Does a Viatical Settlement Agreement Work?

To enter into a viatical settlement agreement, the policy owner must first identify a potential investor. Typically, this is done through a broker or financial advisor who specializes in viatical settlements.

Once a potential investor is identified, the investor will review the policy to determine its value. This is done by calculating the present value of the future death benefit payments, taking into account the policy’s premium payments, interest rates, and other factors.

If the investor decides to proceed, they will offer the policyowner a lump sum payment in exchange for the policy. The amount of the payment will typically be less than the death benefit, but more than the policy’s cash surrender value.

Upon receiving the payment, the policy owner transfers ownership of the policy to the investor. The investor then begins paying the policy premiums and becomes the new beneficiary of the policy.

Advantages of a Viatical Settlement Agreement

For many people, a viatical settlement agreement can provide much-needed financial relief during a difficult time. Some of the advantages of a viatical settlement agreement include:

1. Quick access to cash: Unlike traditional life insurance policies, viatical settlements provide policy owners with a lump sum payment while they are still alive. This can be especially helpful for people with terminal or chronic illnesses who need money to pay for medical bills or other expenses.

2. No need to pay premiums: Once the policy is transferred to the investor, they will be responsible for paying the premiums. This means that the policy owner no longer has to worry about making payments to keep the policy in force.

3. Cash value greater than surrender value: In many cases, the lump sum payment offered by the investor will be greater than the policy’s cash value if the policy owner were to surrender the policy to the insurance company.

Disadvantages of a Viatical Settlement Agreement

While a viatical settlement agreement can be a good option for some people, there are also some potential drawbacks to keep in mind. These include:

1. Reduced death benefit: When the policy is transferred to the investor, the death benefit will be reduced by the amount of the lump sum payment. This means that the policy’s beneficiaries will receive less money upon the policy owner’s death.

2. Tax implications: The lump sum payment received by the policy owner may be subject to income tax. Additionally, if the policy was originally purchased as an investment, the sale may be subject to capital gains tax.

3. Limited market: Viatical settlements are not widely available, and may only be an option for people with certain types of life insurance policies or medical conditions.

In conclusion, a viatical settlement agreement can be a good option for people who need quick access to cash and are willing to give up some or all of their life insurance policy’s death benefit. However, it is important to carefully consider the potential advantages and disadvantages before entering into a viatical settlement agreement. Working with a knowledgeable broker or financial advisor with experience in this area can also help ensure that the viatical settlement is structured in the most advantageous way possible.

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