The many uses of life insurancePart 2 - Estate Planning
Alan J. Mendlowitz, RICP, CRES
Life insurance can be a valuable tool when it comes to estate planning. It can help provide for your heirs and minimize the tax burden on your estate. In this blog, we will discuss how life insurance can be used as part of an estate plan.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and distribution of your assets after you die. It involves creating a plan that will ensure that your wishes are carried out and your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
The goal of estate planning is to make sure that your assets are transferred to your heirs as efficiently as possible and with the least amount of taxes and legal fees. It can involve the use of trusts, wills, and other legal documents to manage and distribute your assets.
How Can Life Insurance Help with Estate Planning?
Life insurance can play an important role in estate planning. It can provide a source of funds to pay for expenses such as funeral costs, debts, and taxes. It can also help provide for your heirs and ensure that your assets are distributed as you intended.
Here are some ways that life insurance can be used as part of an estate plan:
1. Avoiding Probate
Probate is the legal process of settling a deceased person's estate. It can be time-consuming and expensive. Life insurance can help avoid probate by allowing your heirs to receive a financial benefit directly without going through the probate process.
2. Paying Estate Taxes
Estate taxes are taxes that are imposed on the transfer of assets from a deceased person to their heirs. Depending on the size of your estate, the tax burden can be significant. Life insurance can be used to provide funds to pay for estate taxes so that your heirs receive the assets that you intended them to receive.
3. Equalizing Inheritances
If you have multiple heirs, you may want them to all receive an equal inheritance. Life insurance can help equalize inheritances by providing a financial benefit to one or more heirs who may not receive as much from your other assets.
4. Estate Liquidity
Life insurance can also be used to provide immediate liquidity. Many people have a lot of illiquid assets like real estate. If there is a short-term need for cash after you pass away, rather than be forced to short sell those assets below asset value the life insurance can cover any short-term cash needs.
5. Paying Off Debts
Life insurance can also be used to pay off any outstanding debts that you may have. This can help ensure that your heirs do not have to take on the burden of your debts and can instead focus on the inheritance that you leave them.
In conclusion, life insurance can be an important tool when it comes to estate planning. It can help provide for your heirs and minimize the tax burden on your estate. When creating an estate plan, it is important to consider your individual needs and goals and work with a professional to create a plan that meets those needs. With a well structured estate plan, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your heirs are taken care of after you are gone.
Some good sources and reads:
1. Paying Estate Taxes:
• "Estate Planning with Life Insurance," The Balance, September 29, 2021, https://www.thebalance.com/estate-planning-with-life-insurance-357331
2. Providing for Heirs:
• "Estate Planning with Life Insurance," Investopedia, July 27, 2021, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/070715/estate-planning-life-insurance.asp
3. Equalizing Inheritances:
• "Using Life Insurance in Estate Planning," NerdWallet, September 29, 2021, https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/insurance/life-insurance-estate-planning
4. Avoiding Probate:
• "How to Use Life Insurance in Estate Planning," Forbes, October 4, 2021, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/life-insurance/life-insurance-and-estate-planning/?sh=315f85ab69ec