Life insurance can replace income, offer a way to equalize assets among children active and inactive in a family business, provide cash to pay estate tax or be a vehicle for passing leveraged funds free of estate tax.
Life insurance proceeds generally aren’t subject to income tax. But, if you own the policy, the proceeds will be included in your estate:
- Ownership is determined by several factors, including who has the right to name the beneficiaries of the proceeds. Generally, to reap maximum tax benefits you must sacrifice some control and flexibility as well as some ease and cost of administration.
- Determining who should own insurance on your life is a complex task because there are many possible owners, including you or your spouse, your children, your business, and an ILIT.
- To choose the best owner, consider why you want the insurance, such as to replace income, to provide liquidity or to transfer wealth to your heirs. You must also determine the importance to you of tax implications, control, flexibility, and ease and cost of administration.