by John D. Darer CLU ChFC CSSC RSP
A Minnesota CPA has 'bellied up" to the single claimant qualified settlement fund "bar". Chris Lordan states in his blog 'Though slightly indirect, the regulation seems to allow for the formation of a QSF with only one claimant. Evidence in Private Letter Rulings supports the idea that the single-claimant QSF is legally durable".
Lordan recommends a law school paper written by Jeremy Babener of Lane, Powell in Portland, Oregon.http://www.lanepowell.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Structured-Settlements_BabenerJ.pdf
He says" One area of uncertainly regarding QSFs is whether a single-claimant QSF complies with the governing regulations and Section 1.468B of the Internal Revenue Code. Is a single- claimant fund legally compliant with the QSF regulations? While every situation is unique, don’t let an uninformed statement by a party to the settlement derail your plan because you have only one plaintiff.
Lordan, who is also a qualified settlement fund administrator, fails to acknowledge that currently only one Best "A+" annuity funding qualified assignee admits it will take a qualified assignment from a single claimant QSF.
Today there must be another valid reason to do a single claimant QSF and incur the attendant costs. In 2000, when I was involved in my first QSF, MOST qualified assignment companies would accept an assignment from a qualified settlement fund that involved a single claimant. A settlement planner could were imposed by an insurer or Defendant. Furthermore, in many cases back then, the short term interest might have been sufficient to cover the QSF administration costs. That is probably not the case today.
It is also worth mentioning that the tax advice given on these transactions has been from a VERY small universe of attorneys and accountants, some of whom, unlike Mr. Lordan, are not even tax specialists. I'm not knocking them, but legal and tax opinions usually have disclaimers. I reckon that the aggregate amount of professional errors and omissions coverage in place for these professionals for the last decade is far less than the amount of money placed into structured settlements from the single claimant qualified settlement funds they have opined on.
I should add that I contributed $15,000 in 2003-2004 to the collective effort to get Treasury to issue a Revenue Ruling to clarify the issue, because I felt it was right at the time. Despite being on the Treasury Priority Guidance plan from 2004-2009 however, the fact remains that there has been no ruling from Treasury.