Finding out that you have won the lottery or won a lot of money in court can be exciting. What many people fail to realize is that most of these monetary windfalls are paid out over time as structured settlements. Rather than receiving all of the money owed to you up front, you will receive structured payments over a set number of years.

If you have a structured settlement, and need access to your money now, you might want to consider a structured settlement buyout. Here are two questions to ask yourself as you shop for the best structured settlement buyout available to you.

1. How much money do I need to get out of debt?

If you have a significant amount of debt, receiving all of your financial assets now rather than receiving scheduled payments can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are debt free.

The average American household owes $15,863 to credit card companies, and has $33,090 in student loan debt. Taking the time to carefully calculate your debt will allow you to determine how large your structured settlement buyout needs to be in order to pay off your creditors.

2. Am I willing to forfeit some of my money in order to gain access to the funds now?

Companies that offer structured settlement buyouts provide a valuable service, but this service comes at a cost. Before you accept a buyout offer it is important for you to determine if you are willing to forfeit some of your cash in order to access your funds immediately.

Structured settlements are designed to help you reduce your tax obligations. The more money you receive in a single payment, the more money you will be required to pay in taxes. When you combine these increased taxes with the fees a company will charge you to buy out your structured settlement, your total financial award will be reduced. 

Selling a structured settlement can be a beneficial way to gain access to the funds you are entitled to without having to wait several years. Before you accept a purchase offer from a third-party company, be sure that you know how much money you need to get out of debt and how much money you will have to pay out in taxes once an offer is accepted. You should also be sure you have evaluated potential scenarios to mitigate your risks.