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Select the best way to get in touch with you.

Life & Viatical Settlements

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STOLI: The Illicit Practice That’s NOT a Life or Viatical Settlement

Understanding STOLI, Life Settlements, and Viatical Settlements: A Guide to the Differences and Risks

Brandon Selfors

Licensed Insurance Agent

Updated Feb 21, 2023
Published On: Feb 21, 2023
STOLI life settlement cover page

Life insurance policies can be valuable assets, but not everyone wants to keep them until they pass away. That’s where life settlements and viatical settlements come in: these transactions allow policyholders to sell their policies for a lump sum payment that is greater than the cash surrender value. However, there is another type of transaction that can be easily confused with life settlements and viatical settlements, but carries significant risks for policyholders: stranger-owned life insurance (STOLI). Unlike life and viatical settlements, STOLI is an illicit practice in which a policy is purchased by an investor with the intention of selling it to a third party, typically a company that specializes in life settlements. To understand the risks and benefits of each of these transactions, it’s important to distinguish between them and be aware of the nuances of each.

STOLI: An Illicit Practice with Significant Risks for Policyholders

STOLI, which stands for “Stranger-Owned Life Insurance” refers to a life insurance policy that is purchased with the intention of immediately selling the policy to a third-party investor, typically a company that specializes in life settlements. These policies are often marketed to seniors as a way to earn money quickly without having to pay premiums for a long period of time. However, STOLI transactions are considered illegal in many states and can carry significant risks for policyholders.

Life Settlements: A Safe Transaction for Seniors

Life insurance policies can be valuable assets, but not everyone wants to keep them until they pass away. That’s where life settlements and viatical settlements come in: these transactions allow policyholders to sell their policies for a lump sum payment that is greater than the cash surrender value. However, there is another type of transaction that can be easily confused with life settlements and viatical settlements, but carries significant risks for policyholders: stranger-owned life insurance (STOLI). Unlike life and viatical settlements, STOLI is an illicit practice in which a policy is purchased by an investor with the intention of selling it to a third party, typically a company that specializes in life settlements. To understand the risks and benefits of each of these transactions, it’s important to distinguish between them and be aware of the nuances of each.

Viatical Settlements: A Safe Transaction for the Terminally Ill

Viatical settlements are a type of life settlement that is specifically designed for policyholders who are terminally or chronically ill. In a viatical settlement, the policyholder sells their policy to a third-party for a lump sum payment, which can be used to pay for medical expenses or other needs. Like life settlements, the buyer takes over premium payments and receives the death benefit when the policyholder passes away. Unlike STOLI transactions, viatical settlements are typically only available to policyholders who have a life expectancy of two years or less. Additionally, viatical settlements do not involve a third party purchasing the policy with the intention of immediately reselling it.

In summary, STOLI transactions are not the same as life settlements or viatical settlements, and they can carry significant risks for policyholders and investors alike. While life settlements and viatical settlements can provide much-needed financial relief for those who need it most, it’s important to remember that not all life settlement companies are created equal. Some may be direct buyers who are not fiduciaries, while others may be marketing organizations that simply pass on your information. To ensure that you’re getting the best possible deal and that your interests are being represented, it’s essential to work with a licensed life or viatical settlement broker who is a fiduciary and has your best interests in mind. By doing so, you can navigate the complex world of life settlements with confidence and peace of mind.

If you’re considering a life or viatical settlement, don’t wait any longer to explore your options. With the ValuLife app from Bridge, you can get a free appraisal in minutes and potentially earn 500% or more on your policy. Don’t leave money on the table – take advantage of this innovative and user-friendly app today and discover the true value of your life insurance policy!

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Brandon Selfors / CEO

Life Settlement Broker

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