Preparing to Appear in Court
You have completed your purchase contract. You have reviewed everything, including the questions that you will likely be asked by the judge with your representative. You are ready when your court date arrives.
On the day of your hearing, here are a few things you can do to make the process go as smoothly as possible:
- Bring a valid, official photo ID like a driver’s license.
- Dress professionally to show the judge you are taking the matter seriously.
- Bring any documents showing what you want to do with your lump sum, which may include: the settlement and release agreement; sale or transfer documents; and your annuity contract or agreement.
- Arrive early. Courtrooms are busy and being on time is a great way to make a good impression.
It is the judge’s responsibility to review your transaction to make sure that it complies with your state’s structured settlement protection act, and that you understand it. Most of these questions fall into one of three broad categories:
1. Do You Understand the Agreement?
The judge will ask you questions about the terms of the transaction and if you understand what everything means, including how it changes your payment stream.
2. Are You Comfortable with the Financial Impact?
Selling some or all of your payments will have an impact on your finances since it changes your payment stream. The judge might ask you questions about your budget to make sure you’ve thought about how you will cover costs without the payments you are selling.
3. What Are You Doing With the Money?
Your structured settlement is your money and we believe that you should get to spend it when you need it. However, getting a lot of money all at once can alter your finances, and a judge wants to make sure you have thought it through. If this question makes you anxious, your representative can help you prepare some paperwork that shows how you will use the money. That should make this an easy question to answer.\
After asking their questions and reviewing the transaction, the judge decides if he or she will approve the transaction. Each state has different requirements, but with our experience buying structured settlement payments, we are confident that our transactions comply with all laws.
Once the judge approves the transaction, we can finalize the process and send you your cash lump sum. All you have to do is wait for your money.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need a Lawyer?
While having to appear before a judge makes selling your structured settlement payments seem like a court case on TV, the reality is a lot less dramatic. We will always send a lawyer to your hearing to manage the proceeding and represent Peachtree’s interests as the party purchasing your payments. However, it is important to remember that they are not your attorney. They represent Peachtree during the proceedings and cannot answer any questions the judge asks you on your behalf.
It is up to you to decide whether you want to have a lawyer represent you at the hearing. If you’re considering working with an attorney or licensed professional advisor, we suggest asking these questions prior to hiring:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- Are you experienced in representing owners of structured settlement payments and handling the sale of their payments?
- Does your representation cover any problems that may arise throughout my case?
- What are the total costs of your services? How are fees charged?
- Is the initial consultation free of charge?
- Can I pay my legal fees in installments? When are fees due?
- Can I get copies of any documents regarding my case?
- Can I gather my own documents to reduce legal fees?
- Can you provide me with a monthly statement with itemized fees?
Additionally, the American Bar Association (ABA) recommends contacting your state’s lawyer licensing organization to confirm the attorney you’re considering is properly licensed and has no complaints or grievances made against them.
What if a Judge Denies the Sale of My Structured Settlement?
The judge may deny your structured settlement sale if they do not consider the agreement within your best interest or if the transfer has a strong possibility of negatively affecting you or your dependents. They may also deny your sale if the transfer agreement fails to follow federal and state laws.
What Happens After I Appear in Court?
If your transaction is approved, we will finalize the transfer and send your lump sum via the delivery method you specified (direct deposit or check). The length of this process varies depending on how quickly your insurance company issuing your payments acknowledges the transfer.
All transactions are at Peachtree’s sole discretion and are subject to court approval and other underwriting requirements. Peachtree does not provide legal, tax, or financial advice Please consult with appropriate independent professionals for such advice.
Call 1-800-317-1962 and speak with a representative today!