What is the difference between a viatical settlement and a life settlement?

Asked By: Ibay Korste | Last Updated: 10th April, 2020
Category: personal finance life insurance
4.9/5 (65 Views . 22 Votes)
Should You Get a Life Settlement or a Viatical Settlement? A viatical settlement is the sale of an existing life insurance policy at a discount from its value for cash. A life settlement is a trade between the policyholder and the purchaser. This type of settlement is designed for those with longer life expectancies.

Click to see full answer


Subsequently, one may also ask, how is a life settlement transaction similar to a viatical settlement transaction?

The third party becomes the new owner of the policy, pays the premiums, and receives the full death benefit when the insured dies. A life settlement is similar to a viatical settlement, but in a life settlement transaction, the insured is typically at least 65 years old and is not chronically or terminally ill.

Similarly, what happens under a viatical settlement? Viatical settlements allow life insurance policyholders to sell their policies to investors for an immediate cash benefit. In return, the buyer of the viatical settlement becomes the new owner of the life insurance policy, pays future premiums and collects the death benefit when the insured dies.

Consequently, what is an alternative to a life settlement?

The most common of alternatives to a life settlement is known as an Accelerated Death Benefit (ADB). An ADB, also called “Living Benefit”, allows you to receive a portion of your death benefit from your insurance company.

What is a life settlement contract?

A life settlement refers to the sale of an existing insurance policy to a third party for a one-time cash payment. After the sale, the purchaser becomes the policy's beneficiary and assumes payment of its premiums. By doing so, he or she receives the death benefit when the insured dies.

33 Related Question Answers Found

Are Life Settlements Legal?

The viatical settlement and life settlement industries are well-established. Your permanent life insurance policy is a financial asset much like any other. You have the legal right to sell it in the marketplace. Not only are viatical settlements legal in the U.S., they are also well-regulated.

How big is the life settlement market?

So far, 2018 has proven to be the most active year for life settlements in years. By every meaningful metric, the market has expanded. The total face value of annual settlements is projected at $3.4 billion by the end of 2018, up from $2.8 billion in 2017.

What is a settlement broker?

A life settlement broker is a state licensed professional who represents life insurance policyholders in the life settlement marketplace. This individual or entity is regulated by the Department of Insurance in the home state of the policy owner to solicit life settlement offers from multiple life settlement providers.

Can I sell my universal life insurance policy?

Yes, it is possible to sell your life insurance policy for cash in a transaction called a life settlement. People 65 or older can typically sell their life insurance policy as long as the face value of the policy exceeds $200,000.

What is the primary purpose of a life settlement contract?


A life settlement is the sale of a life insurance policy to a third party called a life settlement provider. The life settlement provider becomes the new owner of the life insurance policy, pays any future premiums and receives the death benefit when the person whose life is insured under the policy (the insured) dies.

Who has a right to rescind a life settlement contract?

A Life Settlement Contract must state that the owner has the right to rescind the contract before the earlier of 30 calendar days after the execution date of the contract or 15 calendar days after life settlement proceeds have been sent to the owner.

How is a life settlement taxed?

Life settlement taxation works in three tiers. The amount paid into the policy (the tax basis) is tax-free. Proceeds greater than the tax basis, but less than the cash surrender value, are taxed at ordinary income rates. Any remaining amount is subject to capital gains tax.

How do you buy life settlements?

There are three basic ways that Life Settlement investments are bought and sold:
  1. Direct Purchases of Life Insurance policies. This requires a large outlay of cash along with expertise to buy the right policies.
  2. Direct Fractional Life Settlements.
  3. A Life Settlement Private Equity Fund.

How do life insurance settlements work?


A life settlement is the sale of an existing life insurance policy to a third party for more than its cash surrender value but less than its net death benefit. The buyer of the policy pays all future premium payments and receives the death benefit upon the death of the insured (when the policy matures).

What is a life settlement investment?

BOSTON (MarketWatch) -- Life settlements are not wildly popular investments. But they are wild investments. A life settlement is a transaction in which an individual with a life insurance policy sells that policy to another person, who then assumes responsibility for paying the premiums.

Are Viaticals a good investment?

Viatical settlements may sound great on the surface but they present a lot of unique risks. Follow-on Investment Risk – some life policies are fully paid for, but many require you to continue to pay premiums for many years (or all the way up to the death of the insured).

What is accelerated death benefit?

An accelerated death benefit (ADB) is a benefit that can be attached to a life insurance policy that enables the policyholder to receive cash advances against the death benefit in the case of being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

How do I sell a term life insurance policy?

Selling a term life insurance policy for cash is possible if your policy is convertible into permanent life insurance. Once converted, a life settlement provider can then make an offer based on your age, health, type of insurance, premiums and death benefit.

How much do viatical settlements pay?


In general, the larger the life insurance policy size, the larger the life settlement offer. This is because the death benefit payout to the investor is larger. So an average life settlement offer on a $100,000 policy may be around $20,000 and an average offer on a $1,000,000 may be around $200,000.

Who does a viatical settlement broker represent?

Viatical settlement broker" means a licensed agent who acts on behalf of a viator and for a fee, commission or other valuable consideration offers or attempts to negotiate viatical settlements between a viator and one or more viatical settlement providers.

How are viatical settlements taxed?

When you receive a viatical settlement, the funds are tax-free. In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) exempted viatical settlement proceeds from income and capital gains tax. Prior to the implementation of that law, viatical settlements were taxable.