Articles Posted in Life Insurance

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.

7.12.16Planning to leave an inheritance for your children requires a careful examination of all of your assets, and insurance could be part of that plan.

Most couples use term insurance to help protect their loved ones pay the bills after they pass. A question answered in the NJ 101.5 article “Do you need more insurance? asks if insurance can also be used to leave an inheritance for children.

If leaving an inheritance is important to you, start this process by taking an inventory of all your assets. Look at how they may factor into your support during retirement and see what might be left as an inheritance. This exercise may result in discovering that you already have money that will make a nice inheritance for your children someday in investment or retirement accounts. In addition, your primary residence could be a source of inheritance.

5.18.16Survivorship Life Insurance is a very useful part of an estate plan, but it is not as widely discussed as many other forms of life insurance. A skilled insurance professional and your Houston estate planning attorney should work together for the best outcome.

In "Survivorship Life Insurance Useful for Estate Planning," Insurance News explores how this kind of policy works in an estate plan to benefit heirs or to help make a charitable donation. As the name implies, proceeds are not paid until the last survivor passes—typically the spouse.

This is a real advantage for lower pricing. Another benefit to consider is the benefit of the female spouse. Since women far outlive men, this fact is also reflected in lower premiums. This means you can typically buy twice as much face amount in a survivorship policy as you could in an individual policy for the same money, which is important in estate planning scenarios. Typically, we need to have very large dollar amounts when it comes to death benefits, which in turn, means higher premiums. Affordability and cash flow are always major concerns, so this strategy can help to keep these costs down.

Wedding cake topperIn "3 ways to choose the right life insurance plan," the New York Daily News invites readers to consider how their lives have changed over the decades, and how their insurance should change too.

Young adults have some pretty straightforward insurance needs like obtaining insurance for their first car, insuring that special engagement ring or shopping for rental insurance for that first apartment. As we get older, our needs in life and in insurance change. Saving for a down payment on the first house, college tuition for the kids, and then down the road, retirement become new priorities. And many of us will be faced with unexpected events, like illness or death of a loved one, divorce or a spouse who is forced to retire prematurely.

Make adjustments. Life insurance is an important financial tool that should never be a "set it and forget it" plan. For example, a couple has life insurance policies on which they're continuing to pay premium payments and then the husband passes away. Depending on the death benefit and her level of concern for their children's financial state, it is possible that the wife does not need to keep her life insurance policy. She could put the dollars she was paying for insurance premiums in her pocket for her desired benefit. Also, many companies have employer-sponsored life insurance plans for their employees that cover about three years of salary. Depending on the level of coverage, you might consider purchasing additional insurance outside of your employer.

Baby feetIt's no surprise that many Americans have chosen not to have any life insurance at all, according to NASDAQ's recent article, "Why Have Life Insurance?" A recent study by a life insurance advocacy group, LIMRA, revealed that most Americans think that life insurance is expensive. They were asked to name the price of a 20 year, $250,000 level term life policy for a healthy 30 year old and were off by several hundred dollars. The anticipated annual cost was $400, while the real cost of such a policy is more like $150. The study found that 85% of Americans are not buying life insurance, and this price perception may be part of the problem. That's not including the people who purchase insurance that is not right for their needs, who overpay for insurance, or those who are insured for so little that their unexpected passing will assuredly put their family's financial future at risk.

That's why it's important for you to sit down annually with an insurance professional to review your policy and also to speak with your estate planning attorney about the role life insurance may play in your overall estate planning strategy. Reviewing your life insurance policies is one way to make sure you have the coverage that is right for you and your family as you age and your family situation changes.

Basic Types of Life Insurance

Cute baby faceWhy would parents procrastinate on something that it so important to their family’s well-being? The fact of the matter is that life insurance and estate planning are two topics that most people just don’t want to talk about. It is no fun to think about your own demise and picture your growing family without you in it.

If you are expecting a new baby or are already new parents, you're biggest concern may be having enough diapers in the house. But there's so much more to discuss than diapers and formula. Have you had the life insurance talk yet? What about estate planning?

A recent article in The Kansas City Star, titled "Money Matters: Two things that new parents should not put off…but usually do," lists several items that new parents should consider when examining their life insurance.

Contact Information