Now that you have decided on what you are selling and what company will be providing you a lump sum in exchange for your structured settlement, it is time to coordinate the execution of the documents related to your structured settlement.

As each state has a slightly different system, the conversation below is meant to be just be a general explanation. The company you are working with should be able to walk you through how the state where you live works.


The “Contract”

This is the document you sign that sets forth certain details of the terms of your arrangement with the company buying your future payments. Most importantly, you need to check that its properly states what payments you are selling and what the size of the lump sum of cash the company has agreed to pay you. It is IMPORTANT that you review this document carefully. You should also consider having a legal, tax or financial professional review them for you as well. You should not rely on the company representative to provide you any advice and in fact the company should NOT provide you advice in this regard even if asked.

 Tip: the company you are working with should never provide you legal, tax or financial advice.


The “Disclosure Statement”

Every state law requires you to receive a disclosure statement. Different states, however, require that different things be disclosed to you. You should review this document thoroughly and at your own pace. Again, you should very seriously consider meeting with a professional of your choice to review these terms and the contract.

 Tip: check carefully to see if the disclosure statement refers to any fees or costs that will be deducted from the lump sum you are being quoted. Some companies in the past have charged processing or administrative fees that could result in your lump sum being smaller than you anticipated.


“Other documents”

Along with the documents noted above, the company buying your structured settlement, will include various other important documents. You should take the time to slowly and carefully review these documents. As noted above, it is prudent to consider retaining a professional to go over them with you.


Getting the documents notarized is an important step. The notarization protects the company by making sure they are working with the right person and it also protects you from anyone forging your signature. A Notary Public is an official that is appointed as part of a process in every state and their job to serve the public as an impartial witness that the person signing the documents is who they say they are. As part of the process, the notary will generally require you to have a state issued identification and may, as an additional safeguard, require you to submit a fingerprint.

 Tip: You can always ask the Notary to print as second set of the documents you are signing or send you a copy of the fully executed set.

There should be no issue whatsoever in requesting the company send you a copy of what you will be asked to sign in advance of the signing. This will give you time to review the documents before the signing takes place.  You can also always review the documents when the Notary brings them to you.  If you are uncomfortable with the documents in any way, you should not sign them

Once the documents are notarized and signed, the Notary will often send the documents back to the company via facsimile or overnight mail.  Once the company receives the documents back and confirms all the necessary pages have been properly signed, they will send them off an attorney that is licensed in the state where you live (and that will represent the company at the hearing), so that they can go ahead and get the Structured Settlement Petition Filed.

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