Why Life Insurance Will Always Matter in Estate Planning

With or without the estate tax, it addresses several key priorities.

 Every few years, predictions emerge that the estate tax will sunset. Even if it does, that will not remove the need for life insurance in estate planning. Why? The reasons are numerous.

You can use life insurance proceeds to equalize inheritances. If sizable, illiquid assets make it difficult to leave the same amount of wealth to each heir, then the cash from a life insurance death benefit may financially compensate.

You can plan for a life insurance payout to replace assets gifted to charity. You often see this move in the planning of charitable remainder trusts (CRTs). People use CRTs to accomplish three objectives. One, they can remove an asset from their taxable estate by placing it into the CRT. Two, they can derive a retirement income stream from the trust’s invested assets. Three, upon their death, they can donate a percentage of the assets left in the CRT to charities or non-profit organizations.1

When a CRT is fashioned, an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) is often created to complement it. The life insurance trust can be funded with income from the invested assets in the CRT and tax savings realized at the CRT’s creation. (The trustor can take an immediate charitable income tax deduction in the year that an appreciated asset is transferred into the CRT.) Basically, the value of the life insurance death benefit makes up for the loss of the CRT assets bound for charity.1

Life insurance can help business owners with succession. It can fund buy-sell agreements to help facilitate a transfer of ownership, regardless of how an owner or co-owner leaves a company. It can also insure key employees – the policy can help the business attract and retain first-rate managers and creatives, and its death benefit could help lessen financial hardship if the employee unexpectedly passes away.2

Life insurance products can also figure into executive benefits. Indeed, corporate-owned life insurance is integral to supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPs), the varieties of which include bonus plans and non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements.3

Lastly, a life insurance policy death benefit transfers quickly to a beneficiary. The funds are paid out within weeks, even days. A beneficiary form directs the process, rather than a will – so the asset distribution occurs apart from the public scrutiny of probate. Life insurance is also a backbone of trust planning, and assets held inside a trust can be distributed directly to heirs by a trustee according to trust terms, privately and away from predators and creditors.4  

To learn more about how life insurance can benefit your estate plan, contact us today.

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is a registered investment adviser.  Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. This material and information are not intended to provide tax or legal advice.    Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed.  Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.  Insurance products and services are offered and sold through Perry Financial Group and individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.
Citations.
1 – estateplanning.com/Understanding-Charitable-Remainder-Trusts/ [3/28/16]
2 – quotacy.com/protecting-the-future-of-your-business/ [8/17/16]
3 – nationwide.com/supplemental-executive-retirement.jsp [11/9/17]
4 – forbes.com/sites/markeghrari/2017/05/30/pass-on-your-assets-wisely-how-to-choose-the-right-beneficiaries/ [5/30/17]

Who Needs Disability Income Insurance?

I am all set. I’ll be fine. I’ve got plenty of insurance already. Have you thought the same about insurance or made these statements before? Maybe you do have an appropriate amount of coverage, but do you have plans to protect your income stream in the future?

Although many people understand that an unexpected accident or illness could affect their ability to earn income, they are unprepared for a sudden, permanent disability that could decimate a lifetime of savings and cut off income altogether.

Typically, permanent disability involves sustaining an illness or injury that results in an inability to perform certain work and daily activities for the foreseeable future. While some professions and occupations may be a higher risk than others, all workers who depend on their income may want to consider purchasing protection in the event of an accident or illness.

Consider the benefits of disability income protection under the following scenarios: One- and two-income families. Parents, in-laws, siblings, or friends may not be able to offer immediate emergency financial help or ongoing support if you should become disabled.

One-income households are particularly vulnerable to the permanent or temporary loss of that income. A family situation in which each partner or spouse covers between 30% to 70% of financial need may also be greatly impacted by the loss of one income.

Small businesses. Partnerships and corporations (i.e., business enterprises run by two or more owners) are particularly vulnerable to the effects of a disability. If a disability curtails the involvement of one owner, the other owner must either “carry” the co-owner or close the business. In addition to earnings lost, the disabled business owner may miss certain planning opportunities, such as preparing for retirement.

High stress, service, and production-oriented occupations. Long hours, deadlines, quotas, and the heightened pace of modern living place a tremendous burden on both mind and body. While a healthy diet, physical exercise, meditation, and relaxation are popular stress inhibitors that may extend our life expectancies, even health-conscious workers face the possibility of sustaining a disabling accident or illness.

Group and individual disability income insurance policies cover most individual concerns and family or business situations. Careful planning with a qualified insurance professional can help ensure that you have the proper amount of coverage for your unique circumstances.

Contact us to start your disability insurance today.

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is a registered investment adviser.  Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. This material and information are not intended to provide tax or legal advice.    Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed.  Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.  Insurance products and services are offered and sold through Perry Financial Group and individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.

Life Insurance Explained

A quick look at the different types of life insurance policies.

When it comes to life insurance, there are many choices. Whole life. Variable universal life. Term. What do these descriptions really mean?

All life insurance policies have two things in common. They guarantee to pay a death benefit to a designated beneficiary after a policyholder dies (although, the guarantee may be waived if the death is a suicide occurring within two years of the policy purchase). All require recurring payments (premiums) to keep the policy in force. Beyond those basics, the differences begin.1

Some life insurance coverage is permanent, some not. Permanent life insurance is designed to cover you for your entire life (not just a portion or “term” of it), and it can become an important element in your retirement planning. Whole life insurance is its most common form.2  

Whole life policies accumulate cash value. How does that happen? An insurer directs some of your premium payments into a reserve account and puts those dollars into investments (typically conservative ones). The return on the investments influences the growth of the cash value, which builds up according to a formula the insurer sets.3  

A whole life policy’s cash value grows with taxes deferred. After a while, you gain the ability to borrow against that cash value. You can even cancel the policy and receive a surrender value. Premiums on whole life policies, though, are usually higher than premiums on term life policies, and they may rise with time. Also, beneficiaries only receive a death benefit (not the policy’s cash value) when a whole life policyholder dies.2,4    

Universal life insurance is whole life insurance with a key difference. Universal life policies also build cash value with taxes deferred, but there is the chance to eventually pay the monthly premiums out of the policy’s investment portion.5

Month by month, some of your premium on a universal life policy gets credited to the cash reserve of the policy. Sooner or later, you may elect to pay premiums out of the cash reserve – so, the policy essentially begins to “pay for itself.” If all goes well, a universal life policy may have a lower net cost than a whole life policy. If the investments chosen by the insurer severely underperform, that can mean a dilemma: the cash reserve of your policy may dwindle and be insufficient to keep paying the premiums. That could mean cancellation of the policy.5      

What about variable life (and variable universal life) policies? Variable life policies are basically whole life or universal life policies with a riskier investment component. In VL and VUL policies, you may direct percentages of the cash reserve into investment sub-accounts managed by the insurer. Assets allocated to the sub-accounts may be put into equity investments of your choice as well as fixed-income investments. If you choose equity investments, you (and the insurer) assume greater risk in exchange for the possibility of greater reward. The performance of the subaccounts cannot be guaranteed. As an effect of this risk exposure, a VUL policy usually has a higher annual cost than a comparable UL policy.6

The performance of the stock market may heavily affect the performance of the subaccounts and the policy premiums. A bull market may mean better growth for the policy’s cash value and lower premiums. A bear market may mean reduced cash value and higher monthly payments to keep the policy going. In the worst-case scenario, the cash value plummets, the insurer hikes the premiums in order to provide the guaranteed death benefit, the premiums become too expensive to pay, and the policy lapses.6 

Term life insurance is life insurance that you “rent” rather than own. It provides coverage for a set period (usually 10-30 years). Should you die within that period, your beneficiary will get a death benefit. Typically, the premium payments and death benefit on a term policy are fixed from the start, and the premiums are much lower than those of permanent life policies. When the term of coverage ends, you may be offered the option to renew the coverage for another term or to convert the policy to a form of permanent life insurance.2,7

Term life is cheap, but the tradeoff comes when the term is up. Just as you cannot build up home equity by renting, you cannot build up cash value by “renting” life insurance. When the term of coverage is over, you usually walk away with nothing for the premiums you have paid.7

Which coverage is right for you? Many factors may come into play when deciding which type of life insurance will suit your needs. The best thing to do is to speak with a qualified insurance professional who can help you examine these factors, so you can determine which type of coverage may be appropriate.

 

PFG Private Wealth Management, LLC is a registered investment adviser.  Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. This material and information are not intended to provide tax or legal advice.    Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed.  Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.  Insurance products and services are offered and sold through Perry Financial Group and individually licensed and appointed insurance agents.
Citations.
1 – thebalance.com/does-a-life-insurance-policy-cover-suicide-2645609 [6/5/18]
2 – fool.com/retirement/2017/07/20/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-which-is-best-for-y-2.aspx [7/20/17]
3 – investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/082114/how-cash-value-builds-life-insurance-policy.asp [4/30/18]
4 – insure.com/life-insurance/cash-value.html [12/12/17]
5 – thebalance.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-universal-life-insurance-2645831 [5/8/18]
6 – insuranceandestates.com/top-10-pros-cons-variable-universal-life-insurance/ [9/1/17]
7 – consumerreports.org/life-insurance/how-to-choose-the-right-amount-of-life-insurance/ [3/30/18]