DEFINITION of 'Viatical Settlement'

An arrangement in which someone with a terminal disease sells his or her life insurance policy at a discount from its face value for ready cash. The buyer cashes in the full amount of the policy when the original owner dies. Also referred to as a Life Settlement.

BREAKING DOWN 'Viatical Settlement'

This is extremely risky. The rate of return is unknown because it's impossible to know when someone will die.

If you invest in a viatical settlement, you are basically speculating on death. Therefore, the longer the life expectancy, the cheaper the policy. But because of the time value of money, the longer the person lives, the lower your return. This is undoubtedly one of the more morbid investments you can buy.

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