Estate planning is about making sure you take care of your spouse and family should you pass away. Life insurance plays a critical role in assuring their comfort.
Most people view life insurance as a one dimensional tool. They know and understand its value as a means of replacing the lost income of the policy holder for a certain length of time after his death. It is a means of protecting the family and dependents from financial disaster in the case of untimely and unexpected death. Fewer people have learned of the use of Life Insurance as an investment instrument that is capable of supplementing other elements of a comprehensive retirement plan.
Even fewer people fully understand the value of life insurance in estate planning. Life Insurance is a tool that can be used to transfer wealth from one generation to the other in a manner that minimizes the amount of that wealth lost to taxes. There are several ways that this can be done and it makes your Life Insurance agent a partner in the estate planning process in the same manner he is a partner in your personal finance planning and investment planning.
The basic death benefit from an insurance policy often makes up a large portion of the estate of the deceased person. This is why the taxation implications and the selection of beneficiaries is an important element. It also illustrates how all of the various financial planning areas must be coordinated. The basic life insurance policy will play a role in both financial planning and estate planning. It also might very well figure in retirement planning.
One example of how life insurance can play a creative roll in the transfer of wealth while minimizing taxation is the use of the $10,000 tax free yearly gift allowance. It is possible to make a yearly tax free gift to a child with the intention, but not the requirement, that the money is used to pay a premium on a life insurance policy. The life insurance policy is just about the only investment vehicle where the full amount of the return is available from the first day of the investment. You can imagine how much life insurance can be purchased for a premium of $10,000 yearly. The full amount of this policy represents wealth that is protected from taxation.
There is no question that your life insurance agent can be a trusted partner in the estate planning process. The ability to transfer control of your policy to a Living Trust and the investment and taxation implications for your beneficiaries are just two examples of the kinds of estate planning questions that you will need the guidance and advice of an insurance professional to answer.