Life Insurance For Estate Planning
Take life insurance, for instance. At first take, it might not seem to have a significant bearing on how you will dispose of your assets. Yet, life insurance is the central piece to a well-thought-out estate plan.
Quick Page Guide:
- Best type of life insurance for estate planning
- What happens when life insurance goes to the estate
- Life insurance for estate tax planning
- Estate planning for life insurance
- Estate as beneficiary of life insurance
- Life insurance for estate tax planning
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
- How can Irrevocable Life Trust (ILIT) Help in Estate Planning?
Best type of life insurance for estate planning
Life insurance coverage is not only to give a decent burial to the insured, but it has a lot of purposes. Hence, it can serve as an income replacement and protect real estate and other assets from taxes.
It pays to plan ahead of time, especially if you do not want your hard-earned properties to be subjected to higher estate tax. The current estate tax-exempt $5.49 million when it comes to estate value, but other states can collect taxes lower than the said amount. It will surely snatch a huge amount of value that is supposed to be for your family’s future.
One of the surest strategies that have long been used by many is getting a life insurance policy. With policy coverage, it can cover both inheritance tax and estate tax. By doing this, heirs can get the value of the full assets without any tax deduction that can diminish its value or use as payment.
If you are planning to do the same thing with your asset, it might work or not. There are two reasons why sometimes it fails.
Firstly, the policy of the insured is sometimes added to the estate value of the insured. In return, it will increase the total value to millions of dollars that depend on the value of life coverage. The life insurance will add to the tax liability instead of covering for it.
Another reason is the fact that estate value can increase yearly. It is very hard to target as it changes over time.
Insureds who are counting in the exemptions to protect their asset through life insurance is a risky gamble. For instance, the exemption from federal estate tax is changing for the past 15 years. It is from a no estate tax during 2010 to an exemption of $1,000,000. However, Congress can change it anytime.
It is very important to know and understand your choices when it comes to estate planning. It is for you to choose the best plan that suits your individual needs. Having an estate plan now will surely safeguard your assets and your family’s future. It is useful while you are still alive, and by the time of your passing.
The following are possible estate plans and the role of the life insurance policy. Before that, it is good to understand better what is an estate and estate planning.
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What happens when life insurance goes to the estate
From an expert and licensed CPA Jay Varcoe, an estate is the total value of a person’s net worth. It is the sum of the person’s tangible and intangible assets. Basically, it is the value of everything you own, from your appliances to your bank account. Anything that has an equal value can be added to your total asset.
Moreover, debt is included when it comes to getting the total net worth. Therefore, a large debt can reduce the total value of the net worth subjected to estate taxes. Debt is not a good sign because it can affect the probate process and lead to the assets’ selling.
Life insurance for estate tax planning
It means planning for transferring a deceased person’s assets to his or her heirs after death. An asset’s summary can be divided into real estate, assets, personal belongings like jewelry, cars, life insurance, and debt. If you want to secure an estate plan, then it is important to write a sign and notarized it before your demise.
The main objective of this plan comes from the client itself. The will of the person creating the estate plan can be very simple to complex, depending on what the person wants to achieve after his or her death. However, most people are confused about estate planning, especially if you will get life insurance coverage as part of the plan.
According to a popular guidebook for estate planning from the Wall Street Journal written by Rachel Emma Silverman, many peoples common mistake about their estate is not having any plan at all. It encourages people with huge net worth is to plan as early as possible.
Indeed, your plan today might not be applicable tomorrow. The earlier you set a plan or goal, the more time you have to make some changes if it is not applicable anymore. The main point is that everything, including the death benefit from your life coverage, is considered an asset that will determine your estate’s total value. If you do not have any plan for it, lawmakers are crafting a plan to get a huge amount.
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Estate planning for life insurance
It is good to realize that the most important parts of estate planning have a life insurance policy. There is a decreasing trend in the pricing of life insurance. Therefore makes it an attractive option for many to secure their assets in the future. It is not as difficult as many think because it is a flexible way to develop an estate plan.
Furthermore, your heirs can enjoy tax-free benefits from the coverage. Also, it offers liquidity if you have a business or real estate properties that you want to sell to get cash. After your demise, three things can happen with your estate.
- You may want to donate it an organization
- You will designate people who will get a portion of your assets.
- You can give it all to the government by means of estate taxes.
With the right estate planning, you can get away from the last option. You can freely leave your estate to your family or donate half to charitable institutions. Cash value from insurance policies can provide:
- Source of money to pay for all your funeral costs, debts, and income taxes.
- Payment for the federal estate taxes to avoid selling assets to get some cash.
- Money can go to a trust fund.
- Funds to buy out your interest in a business.
- Donate to a charitable institution.
The ability of life insurance benefits to provide immediate funds after your death is essential. The passing of someone means a lot of unforeseen expenses. Mostly it will exceed your expectation, so better to be prepared than sorry.
According to statistics, only 4% of the total income of a family is used for savings. The truth is that money is not always available on hand at the time when you needed it the most. Many assets are in the form of state properties that you cannot sell immediately.
Furthermore, most assets that come from an inheritance require payments like cars and homes that are not fully paid. This type of asset will only harm your family’s financial status right after your passing. Indeed, a life insurance policy can give cash value to the beneficiary to pay for all debts.
The benefit of the policy can stay away from the probate process. It can make money available at any time. The family does not have to wait to settle the estate that can take more than six months. A huge financial burden can happen within a period of six months and more.
Estate as beneficiary of life insurance
There are different options for you when it comes to securing your estate using life insurance coverage. The simplicity and complexity of the process are according to the client’s status. It is good to have a plan in place in case something unexpected happens.
Life insurance for estate tax planning
One great benefit of owning life insurance is the ability to generate a large sum of money payable to your family upon your death. An even more significant advantage is the federal income-tax-free benefit that life insurance proceeds provide when paid to your beneficiary. You could use the life insurance to cover estate taxes. Although the proceeds are income-tax-free, they could still be included in your taxable estate for estate tax purposes.
Section 2042 of the Internal Revenue Code states that the value of life insurance proceeds insuring your life are included in your gross estate if the proceeds are payable: (1) to your estate, either directly or indirectly, or (2) to named beneficiaries if you possessed any incidents of ownership in the policy at the time of your death.1
1 United States Government. “Title 26 – Internal Revenue Code – Section 2042.” Accessed Dec. 10, 2020.
Irrevocable life insurance trust
It is the best flexible option for many. Hence, it is good to remember that it is not a different entity as a business. Instead, ILIT is an asset or different assets that can benefit beneficiaries. The trustee is the one to manage the trust, but with irrevocable life insurance trust, a client will only forward invoices and other necessary documents to the insured.
It is the ILIT that own the policy for you, so it is removed as part of your estate. It is the trust that owns the policy. Therefore, it is not computed as part of your total asset when federal estate taxes come in. Additionally, it is the ILIT that gives protection to your cash value from other creditors. Other states give creditors the right to seize the cash value from an insurance policy to be able to get their claims.
The amount of exemption to the federal estate tax changes each year, hence covering your assets with ILIT seems very significant. It is the safest way to make sure that your heirs or beneficiaries will get what they deserve. As the name implies, “irrevocable” means that once you get it, then you can never get the policy back in your name.
The good thing about it is that you can still control a lot of aspects within the trust. For instance, you can choose beneficiaries and define terms to get the benefits. You may also select one or more trustees that can manage the ILT on your behalf. Others can allow you or your spouse as the trustee, but you may want to choose an outside trustee. Otherwise, the IRS will assume that cash value is still part of your estate.
There is no doubt that the ILIT can safeguard your assets and get tax free cash value. However, all of these benefits are possible if it is properly designed, and important guidelines are met, such as:
- Name of beneficiaries
- Name of Trustees who will receive all correspondence about the trust, even if you are the one paying for all the premiums.
- State all circumstances in which all beneficiaries can get their money from the ILIT.
- Carefully understand everything about the ILIT according to your state.
It is imperative that you ask the help of an experienced lawyer about estate taxes. In case you have a huge estate, it might be subjected to both federal and state taxes. However, it depends on the applicable law by the time of your passing.
Existing Policy with Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT)
There is an option to gift an existing life insurance policy to an ILIT. However, if the insured dies within three years while making the ILIT a gift, then the policy can still go to the estate for tax. The amount of the policy is included within the estate’s value that is subject to taxes. Today, the current exemption is $5.49 million, but it can go lower.
In case you will but a new policy for the ILIT, it does not have to go through the three year gifting period. You can stay away from the lookback period if the ILIT is the one who owns the policy from the start. The amount of the policy will not go estate even if the insured dies immediately right after getting the policy for the ILIT.
There are instances when purchasing a new policy for the ILIT is not practical, especially if you already have a policy for many years. It is good to discuss with an expert agent from Coach B. Life Insurance regarding your situation. They can offer you current quotes and talk about better options to solve your problems. The current life insurance rates have fallen over the years, so it might be practical to get a new one.
How can Irrevocable Life Trust (ILIT) Help in Estate Planning?
You may also choose to place other valuable properties within the trust or get ILIT specifically for that asset.
Also, for a married couple, there is a Survivorship policy or Second to Die Policy. It is created for two married people, and the policy will only provide benefits after the death of the second beneficiary, the part of the spouse. With this type of policy, it can take away the proceeds in the estate taxes’ eyes.
Singles can also take advantage of ILIT using individual policy coverage to keep 100% of their proceeds to their beneficiary. One can choose from a policy such as whole life, variable, and universal life. However, all of these policies can generate cash value that might be taxable in the trust. It is because ILIT also has a tax return.
If you think you are ready and determined to safeguard your assets from future snatching of the estate and federal taxes, you can talk to Coach B. Life Insurance and be guided on your way to a tax-free estate. Grab your phone and dial 1-800-342-1537.
Can life insurance proceeds be taken by creditors
Can creditors take money from the death benefit? If the death benefit is paid out to your beneficiaries and you have outstanding debts, creditors can‘t swoop in and take the life insurance payout from them. Life insurance is generally protected from outside access by anyone who isn’t listed in the policy.
Is life insurance part of an estate after death
Life insurance policies only become part of an estate if the policy owner directs the insurance company to pay the estate upon their death or if they neglect to name a beneficiary. … If the estate is the beneficiary of the policy, most states require the insurance company to pay the probate court directly.
Are life insurance proceeds taxable to the estate
Life insurance proceeds are typically not taxable as income, but can be taxed as part of your estate if the amount being passed to your heirs exceeds federal and state exemptions.
What type of assets are subject to probate
- owned solely in the name of the deceased person—for example, real estate or a car titled in that person’s name alone, or.
- a share of property owned as “tenants in common”—for example, the deceased person’s interest in a warehouse owned with his brother as an investment
About Coach B.
After starting his financial career with Phoenix Home Life Insurance Company back in 1992, Scott decided he wanted to provide people with an easier and more enjoyable way to buy life insurance. That was the start of Coach B. Life Insurance, whose mission is to be transparent, honest, and helpful to customers — without ever bugging or pushing them.
In the years since then, he has worked tirelessly to improve the process of shopping for insurance. His goal is to make sure that everyone who comes to Coach B. — whether they end up buying a policy or not — has the best possible experience.
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