Death may be the only sure thing in life, and gambling on it may sound disconcerting to many. Viatical settlements involve selling the life insurance policy of a terminally ill person to a company who pays a lump sum cash amount in return for the policy. The companies buy the policy at a reduced rate of the face value, sometimes as much as 50% of the face value, and then collect the death benefits after the person's demise. Morbid as they may sound, but viatical settlements can provide relief to terminally ill people whose life expectancy has been predicted to about two years or so.
This is basically a high-risk transaction, as life itself is unpredictable. The viator (seller) may outlive the predicted life expectancy, and in this case, the company who buys the policy will stand to lose. The longer the person lives, the lower is the return value of the policy.
A terminally ill person may wish to sell his policy to raise cash to in order to ease the financial strains of his final days or to leave something for his children or grandchildren.
There are many private companies who purchase the life insurance policies. They, then become the beneficiaries on the demise of the original policyholder. Before selling the policy, ensure that you are selling to a funding company and not a broker company. This is because broker companies are not the actual buyers and they may or may not act in your best interests.
Also, the buyer companies have their own rules for buying the policies. They would run a checklist on your policy. For example, most companies prefer that a policyholder has had the policy for at least two years. They may also ask you to sign a release allowing them to access your medical records.
You should not accept payments on installments. As per New York State law, all funds must be received at the time of sale. Also, there should be no hidden fees involved at the time of sale.