Viatical Settlement Agreements

Viatical Settlement Agreements: A Comprehensive Guide

When a person is diagnosed with a terminal illness, one of the most pressing concerns is the ability to pay for medical bills and other expenses. Viatical settlement agreements can provide a financial solution in such cases where a person can sell their life insurance policy to a third party in exchange for a lump sum payment.

What is a viatical settlement agreement?

Viatical settlement agreements refer to transactions in which a person with a terminal illness sells their life insurance policy to a third party for an agreed-upon sum. The third party can be a viatical settlement provider, financial institution, or another individual. In exchange, the person with the terminal illness receives a lump sum payment that can help cover the costs of medical bills, hospice care, and other expenses.

How does a viatical settlement agreement work?

To sell their life insurance policy, the person with the terminal illness must first undergo a medical evaluation to determine their life expectancy. This information is then used by the viatical settlement provider to assess the risk and value of the policy. Once agreed upon by both parties, the viatical settlement provider pays the agreed sum to the policyholder, and the policy is transferred to the new owner.

After the sale, the new owner becomes the policyholder and is responsible for the insurance premiums and receiving the death benefit upon the policyholder`s death. The death benefit can be used to offset the cost of the lump sum payment and any other expenses incurred during the agreement`s duration.

What are the advantages of viatical settlement agreements?

Viatical settlement agreements offer several advantages for individuals with terminal illnesses:

1. They provide immediate funds: Viatical settlement agreements offer a fast and straightforward way for terminally ill individuals to obtain money to pay for medical expenses, end-of-life care, and other expenses.

2. No need to continue paying premiums: Once the policy is sold, the new owner assumes responsibility for paying the premiums, relieving the policyholder of the burden.

3. No restrictions on the use of funds: Unlike other forms of financing, the lump sum payment from a viatical settlement agreement can be used for any purpose, including paying off debt or traveling to fulfill a bucket list.

4. Control of the policy`s value: Viatical settlement agreements allow policyholders to receive the policy`s fair market value, rather than surrendering the policy back to the insurance company for a lower value.

Are there any disadvantages to viatical settlements?

While there are several advantages to viatical settlements, there are also some disadvantages to consider:

1. Reduced death benefit: Since the new owner receives the policy`s death benefit, the policyholder`s beneficiaries will not receive any proceeds. This could impact the policyholder`s estate planning or the beneficiaries` financial situation.

2. Potential tax implications: The lump sum payment from a viatical settlement agreement may be subject to income tax or estate tax. It is essential to consult a financial advisor to ensure you understand any tax implications.

3. Fraudulent practices: Not all viatical settlement providers are reputable; it is essential to do your research and work with a provider with a proven track record of fair and honest practices.


Viatical settlement agreements can provide a solution to the financial pressures faced by individuals with terminal illnesses. They offer a fast and straightforward way to obtain funds while providing greater control over the policy`s value. However, it is essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before making a decision and to work with reputable providers to avoid any fraudulent practices.