Articles Posted in Life Insurance

1.26.20Some people think once the children are all grown up, with spouses and children of their own, that they don’t need life insurance. However, it can play a valuable role in protecting the family and transferring wealth.

With estate tax exclusions at levels that make them a non-issue for most Americans, the practice of purchasing second-to-die life insurance policies to prepare for estate tax costs has faded.

However, IRAs, 401(k)s, and other accounts are still 100% taxable to the individuals, spouses and their children. The stretch IRA options still exist, but they may go away, as Congress may limit stretch IRAs to a maximum of 10 years.

Life insurance is a financial tool that can be as powerful during retirement, as it is during your working life. In many cases, it can be a real lifesaver for a surviving spouse.

Most of us think about life insurance as income replacement for a breadwinner’s salary. That is certainly true. However, life insurance doesn’t stop being useful during the later years, says Kiplinger in a recent article, “Don't Overlook Advantages of Making Insurance Part of Your Retirement Plan.”

The income replaceme 6.17.19nt function doesn’t go away during retirement. It might even be more important.

3.25.19Life insurance is the bedrock of many people’s financial plan. There are more nuances to life insurance, than just buying a policy and paying premiums.

It’s not the most fascinating topic, unless you’re in the business, but understanding the basics about life insurance can have big implications for you and your family, according to a recent article, “4 questions to ask to maximize your life insurance benefits” from WTOP. Here’s what you need to know about life insurance:

Changed Circumstances. The amount of life insurance you need, is unique to each person’s financial and family circumstances. Remember that life insurance death benefits are used for more than just replacing immediate income from the family breadwinners. They can also pay off the mortgage and other debts, cover college tuition, create a retirement nest egg for a surviving spouse, fund a business transfer, or be an important estate planning tool. With life insurance, you can protect your family against a premature death with a solid safety net. In the event of divorce with future child and spousal support obligations due to you, you’d want your divorce settlement agreement to say that your ex-spouse, as payor, maintains a sufficient life insurance policy naming you, as the recipient-beneficiary, to cover all future commitments. You also need to be notified by the insurance company of any policy changes or lapses because you may be depending on this money in the future, should something happen to your ex-spouse. Stay-at-home spouses and caregivers also need life insurance, because replacing their duties could incur many unexpected costs for the survivor.

3.15.19These may be common mistakes, but they are too important to dismiss and delay.

Every year, local television news crews show up at local post offices to see the lines of folks waiting to get their tax returns postmarked on April 15—even when so many of us are using online tax services. We just tend to delay taking care of tasks that are not a lot of fun. However, according to Motley Fool, there are “3 Money Moves You Can't Afford to Put Off.”

An emergency fund. We're supposed to have at least three months' worth of living expenses in savings for emergencies, but 40% of Americans don't have the money to cover even a $400 unplanned expense. That means they're not even close to where they should be with their savings target. Without an emergency fund, you risk incurring costly debt if your paycheck disappears or you experience a surprise bill your regular earnings can't cover.

3.15.19Life insurance can help heirs avoid having to incur expenses like estate taxes, funeral costs and similar expenses. However, it also gives heirs breathing room, so they can make the best use of other assets.

Here is an example of how life insurance should work. A father, Howie, dies and leaves a large estate to daughter Eva. The estate is large enough that it triggers a huge estate tax. However, the bulk of his assets are tied up in an IRA and real estate properties, some of which could be put on the market quickly, but not quickly enough for tax deadlines.

With that scenario, Eva might not want to immediately force a sale of the real estate. However, if she accesses the inherited IRA to raise money, she’ll have to pay income tax on the withdrawal and lose a terrific opportunity for extended tax deferral.

10.10.18Everyone’s needs are different. For most people, one large policy is enough. However, what if your life is not like everyone else’s? How do you know how much coverage you need?

Most people never really think about adding more life insurance, once they buy a policy. They figure they have that policy and insurance through their job. However, what if you wanted to have more coverage? This recent article from Nerd Wallet, “Can You Have More Than One Life Insurance Policy?” explains some life insurance basics.

First, you can own several policies from different companies. However, when you apply, insurance companies will inquire about your existing coverage to make certain that the amount you want is reasonable.

5.15.18We insure our homes, our cars and even our ability to work. We also buy life insurance, which could be the most important insurance policy you own and not just for when you have passed away.

People typically think of life insurance as a means of paying final expenses, such as funeral costs and leaving some money to family members.  However, life insurance is more than a policy your heirs cash in when you pass. It can also work as a financial tool while you are living.

Benzinga’s recent article, “Life Insurance Costs and Payouts at Different Ages,” explains that a life insurance policy is a contract you have with an insurance company. You pay them a premium, and they will give a lump-sum payment to your beneficiaries when you die.

8.9.17Most life insurance companies are quite efficient.  However, you will need the right documents.

One of the basic tasks that follow the loss of a spouse or family member is figuring out what life insurance policies were in place and contacting the insurance company or companies to find out how to file for claims. How long it takes to receive the death benefit varies, but for the most part, insurance companies move quickly.

As a follow-up, what happens if the beneficiary doesn't know about the life insurance policy?

8.7.17Unless you really want to give your ex the proceeds of your life insurance or 401(k), it is best to take the time to do this one task.

If you haven’t looked at the paperwork for your life insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts and any other asset that names a beneficiary, right now would be a good time to take a look—especially if you haven’t done so in years. The number of horror stories of assets going to untended people would surprise you. It’s such an easy fix that is all too often forgotten.

MarketWatch’s recent article, “Make this estate planning move right now: Check your beneficiary designations, explains how the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial court by finding that a pension plan administrator didn’t abuse her discretion in determining that a deceased plan participant’s stepsons weren’t considered his “children” under the terms of the plan. As a result, the deceased participant’s siblings, not his stepsons, were entitled to inherit the plan benefits in Herring v. Campbell (5th Circuit 2012).

9.20.16If you are the beneficiary of someone’s life insurance policy, you should know that there are options as to how the policy funds, known as death benefits, can be distributed.

In most situations, the beneficiary of a life insurance policy does not have to pay income taxes on death benefits, according to a recent article in Forbes, “Are Life Insurance Proceeds Subject to Taxes?”

But depending on your situation, you might want to consider different options for that money that may be more productive in the long term. The insurance company can cut a check, but you can also have the insurer hold on to all or some of the funds and distribute them at a later date or in periodic distributions. If the money is held by the insurer, it will continue to earn interest—and that interest is taxable.

Contact Information