Estate Planning Newsletter
Uses of Life Insurance
There are numerous uses for life insurance. Some are obvious; others are very creative. Some of the most common uses include paying estate taxes, estate administration, inheritance equalizing and many others.
Estate Taxes and Estate Administration Costs
Life insurance is often used to provide necessary liquidity to an estate. Since any federal estate taxes owed are due within nine months of the date of death, and federal estate tax rates begin at can be as high as 40%, life insurance may provide the means to pay the estate taxes without the heirs having to sell off other assets of the estate.
Creating an Estate or Equalizing Inheritances
For young families or those who have not amassed enough wealth to provide for a loved one, life insurance can provide an instant estate and enough assets to provide for the care of a dependent. Life insurance may also be used to provide equivalent funds to children who are not receiving certain assets from your estate. For example, if you are leaving your business to those children who are actively running the business, you may leave to your children who are not involved in the business a life insurance policy with an equivalent value.
Business Transfers / Losses of a Key Employee
Life insurance is often used to provide cash to finance the transfer of a business. As part of a business succession plan, an agreement is entered into with a business owner and a life insurance policy is acquired naming the business owner as the insured. Upon the business owner’s death the life insurance proceeds are used to purchase the owner’s share of the business from his or her estate. Life insurance may also be used to protect a business from the loss of a key employee. Upon the death of a key employee the life insurance proceeds may be used to attract and retain a suitable replacement for the employee.
Funds for College
The increase in the cash value of certain life insurance policies may be used to provide funds for college.
Paying off Mortgages or Other Debt
The proceeds from a life insurance policy may be used to pay off the outstanding mortgages owed or debt of the decedent, allowing the real property to pass to the deceased’s family without any mortgage.
Life insurance proceeds can be used to guarantee the repayment of personal or business loans.
Life insurance is often used to replace the value of the assets given to a charity, thereby allowing the donor to fulfill their charitable inclinations while at the same time preserving the estate for the donor’s children.