How Life Insurance Can Help You Preserve Your Wealth

Life insurance not only provides liquidity for your family to cover immediate expenses after you pass, but it also can minimize estate taxes.

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At its core, estate planning is about ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes once you’ve passed away. It's also about minimizing the financial burdens on your loved ones to make the process as smooth as possible during a difficult time. Life insurance plays a crucial role in this process, offering a range of benefits that can help preserve your wealth and provide for your family's financial security.

One of the primary benefits of life insurance in estate planning is its ability to provide immediate liquidity. When someone passes away, there are often significant expenses that need to be covered such as funeral costs, outstanding debts and estate settlement fees. Life insurance can provide the necessary funds to cover these expenses quickly, ensuring that your loved ones aren't left scrambling to come up with the money or forced to sell off assets at a disadvantageous time.

Life insurance can also be an effective tool for mitigating estate taxes. Depending on the size of your estate, it may be subject to estate taxes, which can significantly reduce the amount of wealth passed on to your beneficiaries. However, life insurance proceeds are typically not subject to estate taxes, meaning they can be used to offset these tax liabilities and ensure that your beneficiaries receive the full value of your estate.

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Equalizing inheritance when it’s complicated

When it comes to your beneficiaries, life insurance can help equalize inheritances, especially in more complex situations. In some cases, you may have assets that are not easily divisible, such as a family business or a piece of real estate. By naming certain beneficiaries as recipients of life insurance proceeds, you can ensure that each beneficiary receives an equal share of your estate, regardless of the nature of the assets involved.

For business owners, life insurance can be an essential tool for ensuring the continuity of their business operations. In the event of your death, life insurance proceeds can be used to provide the necessary funds for a smooth transition of ownership, allowing your business to continue operating without interruption and ensuring that your family is financially taken care of.

Furthermore, life insurance can be used as a means of charitable giving. By naming a charitable organization as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, you can support causes that are important to you, leaving a lasting legacy that benefits others. Charitable donations made through life insurance policies may even be eligible for tax benefits, providing further incentive to include philanthropic goals in your estate planning.

In addition to these practical benefits, life insurance also provides peace of mind. Knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of financially in the event of your death can provide a sense of security and relief, allowing you to focus on enjoying life without worrying about what will happen when you're gone.

Factors to consider

When incorporating life insurance into your estate planning, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, it's essential to ensure that you have adequate coverage to meet your family's financial needs in the event of your death. This may include considering factors such as outstanding debts, funeral expenses and ongoing living expenses for your loved ones.

You'll also need to carefully consider the type of life insurance policy that best suits your needs. There are various types of life insurance policies available, each with its own features and benefits. For example, term life insurance provides coverage for a specific period, while whole life insurance offers coverage for the duration of your life and includes a cash value component that can be used as an investment vehicle.

In addition to selecting the right type of policy, you'll also need to carefully consider who you name as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy. This decision can have significant implications for how your assets are distributed after your death, so it's essential to choose beneficiaries thoughtfully and review your beneficiary designations regularly to ensure they align with your wishes.

Life insurance plays a vital role in estate planning, offering a range of benefits that can help preserve your wealth and provide for your loved ones' financial security. By incorporating life insurance into your estate plan and carefully considering factors such as coverage amount, policy type, beneficiary designations and regular review, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your family is financially taken care of once you’re gone.

Justin Stivers is an investment advisory representative of and provides advisory services through CoreCap Advisors, LLC. Stivers Law is a separate entity and not affiliated with CoreCap Advisors. The information provided here is not tax, investment or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.

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This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Justin Stivers, Esq.
CEO, Stivers Law

Justin Stivers is the founder and CEO of Stivers Law, a distinguished Miami-based law firm specializing in wealth and estate planning. With almost a decade of expertise, Justin is dedicated to ensuring that clients' estate plans seamlessly align with their financial aspirations through comprehensive wealth planning. Beyond estate planning, Stivers Law excels in probate and trust administration, elder law, Medicaid planning and special needs planning.