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Misconceptions Regarding Qualified Settlement Funds

5 people standing in a row, each blocking their face with a with a piece of paper with a large question mark

A Qualified Settlement Fund (QSF) is a legal and financial vehicle for managing settlement funds in certain legal cases. QSFs are created under §1.468B-1 et seq. of the Internal Revenue Code and allow parties to a legal settlement to defer receipt of settlement funds. At the same time, settlement funds are allocated and distributed to the intended recipients. QSFs can provide several benefits, including tax advantages, flexibility, and protection for all parties involved in a settlement.

Despite the potential benefits of QSFs, several common misconceptions may prevent parties from considering this option. This article will explore these misconceptions and provide a more accurate understanding of QSFs and how to use them.

Misconception #1: QSFs Are Only for Large Settlements

One of the most common misconceptions about QSFs is that they are only suitable for large settlements. In reality, there is no minimum or maximum settlement amount or number of plaintiffs required to use a QSF. While it’s true that QSFs are often utilized in cases involving significant sums of money, they can be helpful in any case where a settlement or judgment requires allocation and distribution to plaintiffs.

QSFs can be particularly useful in cases where the settlement amount is uncertain or where there are multiple plaintiffs with varying claims. With a QSF, parties can defer receipt of the settlement funds until the distribution plan is finalized and agreed upon. This feature can help ensure that each party receives an appropriate settlement share based on their circumstances and claims.

Misconception #2: QSFs Are Only for Plaintiffs

Another common misconception about QSFs is that plaintiffs only use them in a legal dispute. While it’s true that QSFs typically hold settlement funds for plaintiffs, they are also used by defendants or other parties involved in a legal dispute.

For example, a defendant may use a QSF to hold settlement funds while negotiating with multiple plaintiffs. This can help simplify the settlement process and ensure each plaintiff receives an appropriate share of the settlement funds. QSFs can also be used when multiple defendants or other parties are involved, such as in a class action lawsuit.

Misconception #3: QSFs Are Expensive

Another common misconception about QSFs is that they are expensive to set up and administer. While some costs may be associated with setting up and managing a QSF, typically, the benefits of using a QSF outweigh the costs. Solutions like QSF 360 offer turnkey QSF solutions starting at $500.

For example, QSFs can provide tax benefits that significantly reduce the overall tax liability for all parties involved in the settlement. QSFs can also help streamline the settlement process, potentially saving time and money in the long run. Additionally, many QSFs are set up with the assistance of experienced providers, which can help ensure that the process runs smoothly and that all parties’ legal interests are protected.

Misconception #4: QSFs Are Complicated

Another common misconception about QSFs is that they are complicated to understand. While QSFs can involve some complex legal and financial issues, experienced professionals can help guide the parties through the process.

By working with experienced professionals, parties can ensure that they fully understand the benefits and risks of using a QSF and make informed decisions about managing settlement funds.


In conclusion, QSFs are valuable for managing settlement funds in various legal cases – from single-plaintiff cases to larger and more complex cases. Unlike in the past, affordable, quick, and straightforward solutions (QSF 360) provide access to QSFs for even small single-claimant cases.

Disclosure: This content is an overview. It is not a detailed analysis and offers no legal or tax opinion on which you should solely rely. Always seek the advice of competent legal and tax advisors to review your specific facts and circumstances before making any decisions or relying on the content herein.
Any opinions, views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Eastern Point Trust Company, its Affiliates, or their clients. The mere appearance of content does not constitute an endorsement by Eastern Point Trust Company (“EPTC”) or its Affiliates. The author’s opinions are based upon information they consider reliable, but neither EPTC nor its Affiliates, nor the company with which such author(s) are affiliated, warrant completeness, accuracy or disclosure of opposing interpretations.

EPTC and its Affiliates disclaim all liability to any party for any direct, indirect, implied, special, incidental, or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of the content herein, which is expressly provided as is, without warranties.
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